Marcos is leaning against the railing in front of the store doing his daily leg stretches. His leg is lifted on to the railing in a manner that resembles a practicing ballerina. The damp morning air is slowly being replaced with the fresh warmth of a new season. Across the highway, the once barren trees are shyly beginning to reveal their greenery. Bushes and shrubs are swaying in the warm breeze, the dark violet hue of their blossoms mark the end of a long winter. It was, for us Texans, one of the coldest in recent memory. Gas bills soared and sales numbers plummeted. As for the sales staff, Soul said it best just now,
"Shit, everybody's gone."
Last winter was harsh indeed.
Marcos is now standing to my left, his backpack resting on my desk. He quit this morning. His ride should be here in two minutes, he says. The sales managers pass by and shake his hand, joking in a manner that hides their sadness to see him go. Jeffrey tells him that even that greener grass on the other side might be hiding some manure. I can tell that they want him to stay. So do I.
“So what do you think man?” He asks me. I look up at him as I type this.
“I’m sorry to see you go Marcos, you’re good friend.”
"You're gonna be a good attorney," he replies. Marcos has been here for a long time. His desk has been just to the left of mine for maybe a year or longer. His ride pulls up in front of the store. Marcos, whose presence commands an odd combination of intimidation and humor. Marcos, who looks like he could be a old-time Chicago gangster, who has two grown children living outside of Texas, who is turning 54 years old next week, is walking through the big glass doors at the front of the store. Goodbye Marcos.
I delete his voicemails and change the name on his extension to GT, who is my new neighbor to the left. GT is back after a long absence from work due to his developing arthritis in his feet. I remember visiting him in the hospital when it happened. His feet swelled up to the size of bowling balls, but the doctors didn't quite know why. Today, he is better, though sometimes he walks with a cane. GT is 29 years old. Sometimes I wonder if the doctors would have found a solution to his problem if he had insurance. Or money, which is something that all of our sales guys are lacking right now. GT's limp, along with his rather beak-ish nose, makes me think of a bird with a broken wing.
My switchboard lights up with callers. A customer accidently leaves the big glass doors wide open as he walks out with GT for a test drive. The weather is beautiful so I leave them. Warm air and the sounds of a busy highway flow inside. The long winter is over and hopefully Marcos was our last casualty.