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No reply. Or is he,

No reply. Or is he, like, mid-forties-ish. With, like, glasses? And, um, he’s usually wearing a brown suit? I’m sorry, um, she giggled, He, um, wears a lot of brown. The man laughed. Yeah. That’s the one. The little man, with little glasses, no frames. Just the, what’s it called, the glass? The lens, Sam laughed, The lenses. The lenses, he repeated. That’s Matt Fletcher. You want Matt Fletcher. Okay, said the man, Can I speak with Matt, then? Um, I think he’s in a meeting right now, she lied, not thinking it but knowing it. Because she liked the man, she lied so as not to let him down. Also, she wanted to draw out their conversation. Well, I’ve got to talk to him, he said. He was being less nice now. Their friendship had dissipated. It never existed at all. K, hold on, she mumbled, and pressed down the hold button. She hung up the receiver, and checked her email. Two unread emails: one from the Sephora email list (Our new summer palette), the other from Ben, Ben unnecessarily confirming that he understood her confirmation: Yes, she’d be outside around seven. Sam didn’t respond; there was nothing else she could say. All she could do was not die. She pressed down on hold again. Um, yeah, she said, exaggerating dejectedness, He’s definitely in a meeting. It’s a meeting of the partners. Well, said the man, Just, erm, tellim Keith called. Tellim give Keith a ring. Will he know what that means? asked Sam, Will he know who you are? Yeah, said Keith. It was summer today. She thought of all the other summers and winters and her summers/winters pattern. This was the first first day of summer her summers/winters pattern had ever been inapplicable. Sam knew that breaking patterns was a good thing, her therapist was always urging her to do so. Over the years (of therapy), she’d learned so deeply that Break the pattern! is usually the best advice (often the only advice) she no longer required sessions weekly, if even monthly. She missed therapy: it was such a fun way to kill an hour Sam knew that breaking patterns was a good thing, her therapist was always urging her to do so. Over the years (of therapy), she’d learned so deeply that Break the pattern! is usually the best advice (often the only advice) she no longer required sessions weekly, if even monthly. She missed therapy: it was such a fun way to kill an hour self-indulgently, two if you count the commute. 33 Register Magazine

self-indulgently, two if you count the commute. (She counted the commute. All hours killed are good hours.) But she couldn’t afford it anymore, and she couldn’t feel alright about asking her father for $125 a week just so she could externalize and have this woman say Break the pattern! when she knew to break the pattern anyway. She had long since learned how to identify patterns and now she broke them without even noticing she’d broken them. She’d feel new and happy and wonder why and then she identified that it was because she’d broken a pattern; it was the relief she felt specific to pattern-breaking. She didn’t feel that relief right now why? Oh it’s because deriving cheap and momentary happiness from breaking a pattern had, sadly, become a pattern. So she had broken two patterns. She held her face to the sun to get a tan. Her summers/winters pattern was that she always used to be sad in the winter and happy in the summer, but today, in the summer, she was sad. There are only so many things a person can do on the Internet and at this point it has become just as boring as the real life it was once meant to help avoid. So this was her job, and her life, and things. Every night, she’d think back upon her day, and the morning seemed like it happened a hundred years ago. Every day was like a little life. Jessica, said Matt Fletcher. Samantha, Sam corrected. I’m sorry, said Matt, Samantha. Sam, actually, she half-smiled, shrugging, Really. Just Sam is fine. Okay! Matt replied, Sam. Sam. I’ll make a mental note of that. He tapped his skull with his right index finger to hammer home the point of how serious he was about making a mental note of the new receptionist Samantha preferring to go by Sam. Um, there’s a message for you, said Sam, I understand that what I’m supposed to do in this situation is email you the message and who it’s from in, um, the template, you know. I’ve done it before. Matt Fletcher made no effort to indicate that he had any memory of her having correctly done it before with the template. He just stood there. This man called, Sam continued, Keith. He was British. Um, he said you’d know who he was? I tried to get more, um, information out of him, more, um, specifics, but he was really like, resistant? To it? Matt Fletcher looked at Sam. He looked very hard at Sam. Keith, said Matt, Is Keith Richards. Oh! From the Rolling Stones? Matt didn’t answer her question; the answer was too obvious. He cocked one feathery eyebrow, seeming excited, laughed a little, and trotted off to his office, where Sam could only assume he would call Keith Richards. She felt lightheaded and thought of every time she’d ever listened to the Rolling Stones song Happy, and it meant something about herself to herself, that she had liked him on her own. It really was summer now. The air smelt like bee bodies, and white little flowers fluttered down and off the trees all around her, summer’s snowflakes. It would be most convenient to cut through the park but it was hard for her. Everybody loved 34

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