Back in her small hometown of Rushing Falls, the tallest building stands eight floors tall. It took until 1987 for that to be built. If the town were to put up a thirty storey building, such as the one Samantha’s works in, she’d be able to see from one end of the city to the other, maybe even over to the next city. All she can see out of her current window is the thirty-five storey building directly across from hers.
Two years earlier, Samantha had been quite impressed with herself when she landed a job at the country’s top financial institution, as was her family.
“I can’t believe my little girl is moving to the big city!” her mother said when Samantha told her parents the good news on graduation day. “Will you have your own office?”
“I will, on the 29th floor,” she proudly answered.
But now, Samantha was beginning to realize that the only difference between processing loans in the big city and processing loans in Rushing Falls is the commute time. More and more these days she finds herself staring out her office window and dreaming about escaping. She’d go somewhere quiet, where it didn’t cost half a million dollars for eight hundred square feet of living space or take three hours to get to and from work. She’d like for someone to be by her side when she made her escape, but who? She hadn’t met anyone new in ages.
Just as she was about to turn her focus back towards her work, something caught her eye. Or rather, someone – a man that looked to be not much older than she, who was working on the 29th floor in the building directly across from hers. It was home to the country’s second largest financial institution.
As though sensing he was being watched, the man turned away from his computer screen and looked out his own office window. He spotted Samantha and gave a quick wave. Embarrassed to have been caught spying, she sat frozen for a second and then gave a quick wave herself before resuming her work.
She processed two loans before the day was through, but spent most of her time wondering about the mysterious man across the way. What did he do at his financial institution? Did he like his job or was the grind getting to him as well? Maybe they took the same commuter train home and didn’t realize it. Maybe he also fantasizes about small town living.
The next day, Samantha found herself staring out the window quite a lot, and was happy to see that her mystery man felt the need to do the same. He gave her a wave, she gave him one in return, and then he held a piece of paper up to the window. The distance between their two buildings was too great for her to make out what was written on the paper, so with his best charade moves he made the sign for binoculars. That afternoon at lunch, she went to the first place she could think of that might sell binoculars and bought a pair. There were ten e-mails waiting for her when she returned to her desk, but she felt it was more important to see if her mystery man might have any new messages for her.
The second she caught him looking her way, she held up her newly purchased binoculars to indicate that she’d now be able to read any message he might have for her. He got to scribbling one down right away and held it up to his window.
‘Why do people who make fifty thousand a year think they can afford a Mercedes?’ it read.
‘Likely for the same reason they take out loans to go on vacation. They’re idiots’ hers read in return. Then she wrote a second message.
‘How long have you been trapped over there?’
‘Seven years. You?’
‘Two years, three days, four hours and ten minutes.’
‘Then you have a while before you become truly bitter.’
‘They must have put me on the Fast Track program.’
‘:) 🙂 :). Want to grab dinner after work?’
‘:) 🙂 🙂 Bertolli’s at six?’
‘:) 🙂 :)’
At six 6p.m. a man carrying a pair of binoculars walked into Bertolli’s. He recognized Samantha right away, for she too was carrying a set.
“Hello, I’m Samantha,” she said while extending her hand towards him.
“I’m David,” he said, shaking her hand in return.
They found the perfect table for dinner; a quiet spot in the back where not only did they discover that they shared a love for ravioli, but a deep desire to flee both the city and corporate life.
“How do you feel about cycling?” David asked.
“In this city?! Are you crazy?!” she said.
“No, I mean across Europe, with nothing more than a couple of bikes and a backpack each.”
“I love that idea! We should start planning our escape now.”
A year later, the country’s largest and second largest financial institutions would find themselves searching for two new people to fill desks on their respective 29th floors. David and Samantha would be in the south of France, ready to ride towards a much better life.