She walked the length of the corridor in both directions. A stride length of three feet. Many steps were required. She passed the workstation for Penkert's assistant, Rohberg's, Klevine's, and Lachares'. No Sally. Why bother looking at that moment? Logically, Sally remained off at lunch. The unfiled papers and the document on the computer irked her (she is at the far end of the corridor now, near the pantry, starting her way back). Her annoyance grew. (Someone started up a xerox machine. Others worked through lunch too.) Later she understood those fifteen seconds made the difference, changing her into a statistic.
As she approached her office, a man came out. Though well dressed, torn shoes seemed out of place. He was big, over six feet, and gorgeous. Then he moved and she realized he must have once been gorgeous. At this new angle his face appeared ravaged.
She felt sorry for him, attracted too, confused by that attraction, confused by a spike of fear in his eyes. He sweated, hair matted at the temples.
"Can I help you?" she said, patting her hair then smoothing her skirt. She had this sudden urge to meet him, to learn all about him. But as she stepped in his direction, he turned and hurried off. The good ones -- if he was one of the good ones -- always seemed to get away. A door closed.
To continue the story, go to Part 18
To understand Marilyn better, go to Part 15