So what’s wrong, she wants to know, with rolled up shirt sleeves and a tipped-grin sense of humor?
Buttoned up, concerned, and serious are fine and they’re what everybody, everywhere, is always suggesting one should be, and she’s sure these things are supposed to mean something to somebody – suits and shined shoes. Short hair cuts. Big city dreams with bags of money slung heavy over shoulders. She knows about big cities and happily stuffed bank accounts like she knows about first steps and awkward first words – she’s heard about these things, she can almost remember them.
Success comes in a Brooks Brothers wrapped box with a Saks Fifth Avenue ribbon and a tag signed
“Good work, kid.
She knows this because everybody knows this. Everybody right-minded and worthwhile and hard-working knows this, if nothing else.
Except she feels some fluttered movement sometimes.
She feels somebody happening.
And her thoughts are getting smoother and spreading open, and she wonders what’s wrong with an easy smile. She’d like to know what’s wrong with J.C. Penny’s and with a casually set dinner table. She writes Mrs. Jim Halpert on her notepaper and she feels this other person…
And things for her, now, happen without suits and without dollar signs.
Things for her, now, happen in threes.
She doesn’t know why anybody disputes that life changes on its own…that some things stay blessedly the same and some things are inherently changing and no number of dollars or street full of sky scrapers could do anything about it.
She was, sometimes before, uneasy and nervous. She, at times, felt some sort of pressure, some money or suits or haircuts weighing her down because men, sometimes, she guesses, are just…
Men sometimes feel that life is rolling along on train tracks. Men sometimes are much more aware of time chugging along without them, the wheels fast and the pressure building and the whistle always about to blow, and her man has been concerned for this third of theirs and wanting badly to stay buttoned up and serious because he’s heard children need that sort of thing in their fathers.
He’s heard hush little baby don’t say a word, daddy’s gonna buy you a mockingbird one too many times and he’s urged forward by it, pushed sideways against it, forced around and around in circles because of it.
And hush, she wants to tell him. Things will work out fine. Lullabys can be about anything, about J.C. Penny’s and casually set dinner tables. The two of them can croon their sweet office romance, fate, soulmates…the things they know about that most other people never realize. They can sing other things, she wants to tell him. Hush.
He’s been somebody else, tight and buttoned, and she’s been trying to bear it because love lets a woman sit still in acceptance.
He’ll work, he figures, so that the next of theirs can work or maybe so that the next might not have to work as hard, and she happens to be an advocate for taking a deep breath now and then, for taking a look around now and then, for considering who and how and whether or not things are worth it. Roy taught her that.
Roy taught her how to put something off until later if deep down you know it isn’t right.
And now she’s in love with this Jim Halpert, who’s thankfully mostly nothing at all like Roy, and she watches him wipe the sweat from his brow and push the love out of his pores and button his suit-coat up tight.
So now, at night, she’s sure to diligently unwrap him. She thinks it's important.
She feeds him Ragu and boxed spaghetti and lets him beat her in Blackjack.
She loosens his clothes, pulls them from his body to remind him to slow down, to remind him that things are ok. She silently tries to tell him hush because she feels more than just keys on a keyboard against her fingers when it’s Monday and it’s three in the afternoon, or when it’s Friday and she’s lying in bed beside him, or now - always, everywhere. She feels more than keys against her fingers.
She feels movement.
Her life is fantastically in threes, now, and things will end up ok.
She’d been trying, all along, to tell him this. To reassure. But men have the chug chug chug of imagined expectations and she’s found she can’t say a word that can erase his furrowed brow of paper-induced concentration.
Not all things can be controlled. She doesn’t know what’s wrong with easy like J.C. Penny's.
She’s been trying to tell him this.
She’s been furrowed brow, thought-tight-tongue, pursed lips trying to tell him this.
Worried. Concerned. Serious.
Then, some unimportant Thursday, life does her another of a million favors.
Just like she's been thinking lately, just like she's been trying to tell him, life changes on its own - uncontrollable, standing up to tell Jim Halpert hush. Life leans over and gives him a shove in the right direction – life taps him on the shoulder and puts him back where he belongs.
Life hands out rolled up shirt sleeves, one unimportant Thursday.
Life hands out a tipped-grin sense of humor, and she feels Jim Halpert back beside her and she feels some smile, like an easy thing.
And she breathes an easy breath.
And as he stuffs Dwight’s tie in coffee and things are blessedly the same as before she feels something…someone happening, and her fingers sit utterly still against the keys on her keyboard just for a second because there’s someone happening…
She closes her eyes and she thinks to herself hush…take it easy.
She thinks hush, now, daddy’s gonna tell you a million stories…a million jokes…a million ways he loves you and me and the three of us, and he won’t have to buy you a mockingbird to do it…or a looking glass or a diamond ring or any other kind of thing. So just hush, and take it easy.
And it’s her own kind of lullaby and somebody inside of her settles, goes quiet.
And when she opens her eyes again Jim Halpert is laid back and casual, unbuttoned and breathing and smiling at her and she smiles back, easy.
Her life, now, is fantastically in threes and she thinks he can slow down, finally, and they can unbutton these buttons and she knows that this will all turn out just fine.