Today’s Tale

February 24, 2000

Once upon a time there were two people working for a large multi-national corporation. He was in administrative work for one facet of the company and she worked in another area. Their office buildings were next door to each other, and eventually they met.

Their corporate headquarters had long ago decreed that there should be no romantic interaction among employees. But each was far from home and had given up much to pursue their careers. Even though they knew it was forbidden, they began to see each other.

She had been an only child. When she was 8, her mother had died of complications of a failed pregnancy . She’d entered her career field after the death of her father, when she was only 19. Her job had meant everything to her until she met her lover. Now, he meant everything.

For him, the story was slightly different. He’d always known that THIS career was his destiny. He’d dreamed of it from the time he was young... the uniform, the respect, the good he could do... His parents and siblings were very proud of him and he was very proud of himself. Never had he been tempted to stray from the path he had set for himself early on. But, now he began to question the validity of its hold upon him. Her eyes, when she looked at him, were so deep, so blue... In them, he lost himself and all of his ambitions. In the sound of her laughter, he heard music. In the warmth of her embrace, all desire to be anywhere else or doing anything else faded completely away.

One day, however, as they were walking hand in hand through a park in another town, they were seen together by one of his supervisors. Being a man hungry for advancement, and suspecting that this could be a chance to prove his loyalty to the Company, he made a point of telling his own supervisor as soon as possible. The lovers returned to work later in the afternoon, each to his or her own office, but the man was immediately called into the office of Chief of Personnel and told that he was being transferred immediately. He was faced with the evidence of his romantic attachment and told that he must leave the area within the hour and would not be allowed to contact his lover.

Days went by without her hearing anything from him. Finally, she overheard two other women in her office gossiping about the employee in the next building who had been transferred because of his illicit involvement with a co-worker. Her heart broke within her as she realized what must have happened. She went immediately to her own supervisor and asked for help in finding out the truth. Her supervisor would only say that relationships between co-workers were strictly forbidden and she had signed an agreement to that effect before accepting employment. If she continued to pursue the matter, she, too would be transferred to another assignment.

Days turned to weeks, and her grief knew no end. She couldn’t risk being transferred because he would never know where to find her. She couldn’t leave the Company to look for him because she felt she had nowhere else to go, and no one to care about her anywhere but at her work. She didn’t eat, and didn’t sleep, and wasn’t surprised when her health began to fail. Her supervisor ordered her to get a medical checkup, and it was then that she learned she was pregnant.

In a Company as large as the one she worked for, such things were known to happen. Protocols were in place to handle such situations, and she was quickly transferred, against her wishes, to remote area, where she found other employees in like circumstances. There, she worked quietly and out of sight of the public, and waited for the day when her baby would be born. As she worked and waited, she wondered what would occur. As each woman went into labor, she was removed from the compound and never returned. No one spoke of what would happen “after”, but she slowly realized that she’d never known any of the fellow employees to have children.

On a gray and miserable day, her child was born. However, she had been administered a powerful sedative and was unable to participate in the birthing experience. She was unaware when it sounded its first cry, and unaware when it was removed to a separate wing of the hospital in which she lay. When she awoke and asked for the child, she was told that it was unacceptable for her to see it as that would facilitate bonding and there was no use in her bonding to a child that she would never raise. Devastated by the knowledge that both her lover and her child had been taken from her by the Company, she considered suicide. She was deprived of any means of accomplishing her own death, however, and eventually she simply sank so deeply into a depression that even escape was unthinkable. At this point, the Company praised her for her newfound “cooperative attitude” and as a reward transferred her to a new assignment.

The End

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