Saturday, April 2, 2011
Yesterday was my last day as a Biglaw associate. My going away party started at 6. At 6:15, I looked at the items remaining on my desk. I stuck the bottle of Frank's Red Hot and my pedicure flip-flops in my purse, and basically swept the remaining items into the garbage. I turned off my computer, and walked out. Because my party started at 6, I was the only one leaving at 6:20 -- people were either already there or not ready to leave yet. As I rode down in the elevator, I thought maybe it was fitting that I leave alone, as I walked in alone on my first day of work. I was lost in thought, pondering the symmetry and poetry of walking out the front doors and looking back at the building.
I was so lost in thought that I accidentally walked through the security gate of the side door. I paused. I had already turned in my badge and couldn't go back. So I had no choice but to walk out the side door, where the smokers congregate under the overhang. I walked out through a cloud of smoke, next to a dumpster. The air was heavy and grey, and a light rain was falling, but I didn't have an umbrella and the smoke and dumpster smell was so unpleasant that I didn't pause. I didn't look back. I just walked the three blocks to the bar with my hands in my coat pockets, hurrying so my hair wasn't soaked by the time I got to the party.
The party was fun -- even for someone who doesn't like parties much. I drank a bunch of Bud Light and said goodbye to people. It was pretty much what I expected. I got pizza at my favorite NYC pizza place in my old neighborhood. Kathy and I took the train home to the suburbs and nearly slept through our stop, and wandered into our house.
That's when I looked in the mirror and realized that sometime during the night, probably sleeping on Kathy's shoulder on the train, I had lost one of my favorite earrings. They were given to me by my mom a few years ago, and had been hers during the '80s, so I am pretty sure that the earring is irreplaceable.
I sat on the edge of my bed and cried. I cried over the lost earring. I cried over the awkward, unthinking way my last day at work had ended, walking out the wrong door like that. I cried over the loss of the optimistic, energetic lawyer I had been when I started. I cried over losses I couldn't name. And then I went to sleep.