Essie spilled her tea down the front of her blouse at the hard banging on her front door. Slowly, she muttered to herself and dabbed at the spilled tea with a napkin as she went to the door, opening it to a large uniformed deputy.
“Yes?” She said in a not so friendly tone.
“Are you Essie Hadden?” He asked even though Essie was certain he already knew the answer since he had been to the house before when her father had been in trouble for being drunk and disorderly.
Essie sighed, “Yes. What did he do now?”
“I beg your pardon?” The deputy asked her.
“My father. I’m sure you are here about him. What trouble is he causing this time?” Essie looked the deputy in the eyes.
“Well, Ma’am, it is about your father, but not that way. His boss reported him missing since he hasn’t been to work in several days and he hasn’t been heard of. I was just coming to see if he was here.”
“Oh, I see. Well, no, he isn’t here, obviously. To be honest, I don’t know where he is..and I don’t really care. He is a drunken, mean son of a bitch and I hope he never comes back. If you will excuse me, I have supper on the stove.” and Essie closed the door.
In the kitchen, she turned down the heat under her stew and chuckled. She knew her father would never really be missed now. He hadn’t been to his job in more than a week and they were just now checking? She laughed out loud because her father’s boss had never once called her to ask about her father. No, he was not going to be missed by anyone. Nor would he ever be found. She had made sure of that.
Early the next morning, Essie went to work and made her way to her cubicle before anyone else had arrived. She was well into her work when the others began to arrive. They were all chattering until they realized Essie was there causing a sudden hush in the office.
“Yes, I’m here. You all probably thought you were rid of me, but you aren’t. Why don’t you try finding someone else to rip apart for a change?” Essie said just loudly enough to carry through the room. She then chuckled and leaned over her desk. She found it startling how free she felt about every part of her life now.
When Essie was ready to go to lunch, she started to rise when her chair slipped from under her, landing her on the floor. She looked up to find the others laughing at her. That same something snapped inside her. As she stood and adjusted her blouse, Essie knew what she had to do. She glared individually at each of the other women in turn before slowly marching from the office with her head high.