Tommy popped into view like always as if materialized into being.
“The old man is finally leaving us after all these years. Hope the retirement home has cable!”
“Knock it off,” I said as I hit him somewhat playfully on the shoulder. “Besides, I saved the room next to me for ya!” He laughed and walked away to whatever work he was currently not doing. There was no way I was going to miss him.
I surveyed the room around me, bare after all the awards, commendations, and random bits from a lifetime spent between foldable walls had been taken down and boxed away. It was so empty now, much the way it was when I first stepped into that 14th floor cocoon some 35 years ago. Back then, I was filled with the belief that I had the ability to change worlds and minds. But now, I seemed more the old dog, forced to take myself out to pasture.
I grabbed the single file box containing the entirety of the life I had led and walked outside, following the hallway down until making a turn to the right. I knew that in conference room C ahead of me there was a cake and candles waiting to help celebrate my retirement. But by now I had had about enough of the perfunctory well wishes. Within a week, if not sooner, I’d be nothing more than a name within a quickly forgotten company newsletter. My replacement would no doubt bring fresher perspectives and probably a better eye at decoration. As I approached the doors to the conference room, I couldn’t help but think that it no longer felt like entering a retirement party. It seemed more a funeral.