Word: Autobiography. Noun, singular. Def: The history of a persons life, written or told by that person.
My steps slowed as I approached the break room whiteboard. Every day I walked past it at work, stealing a few moments to peruse the daily question and coworkers’ responses. Whose concert do you want to attend? What’s your nickname, your pet peeve, your definition of freedom? I blinked at it a few times, metaphorically floored by this weeks inquiry:
What’s the name of your autobiography?
The words twisted off the white slat into a question mark wrapped around my brain. My autobiography? Why would I want one of those? A few titles presented themselves, just as quickly fleeing from submission. My autobiography. What would I write? Student, part timer, author. Not terribly funny, or even memorable. Just forging my way like the rest of us. Shouldn’t think about it to hard.
I kept on walking, trying to shake the question from my thoughts. Had I done anything worth remembering? Loved those I ought, forgiven those who asked and also those who hadn’t? Did I add to my little patch of the Universe or only take away?
Don’t be silly. Opportunities would come, of course. Someday.
I returned to the beckoning slate and flicked the cap off of a marker, scribbling a reply next to the others. My autobiography. Nobody really reads those things anyway.
~ ~ ~
I craned my neck to peer over the wall of my checkout stand, wondering how long the line stretched this time. Hours of passing items from one side of the counter to the other, all following the same pattern, had taken its toll. Did you find everything alright? No, that’s not actually on sale this week. Do you want a bag for that? Ok, have a nice day. Endless. I glanced down at the computer clock, stifling a yawn. 30 minutes left. I could do just about anything for 30 minutes.
The earlier question rattled around in my head, poking at the back of my eyes and down into my chest. My earlier response was nonsense, filler. My autobiography? I didn’t have any huge ambitions for life, despite what my former classmates thought. I looked at my next customer, spewing my lines and gaining token replies. My autobiography. Nothing world changing… but I did want to make a difference.
I finished the transaction and looked up again. It was an elderly woman, air tubes attached to her nose and an O2 tank in her cart. I smiled again, hoping she could see sincerity.
“Hi, how are you?”
“That’s good.” Another smile. Real smile. “Did you find everything alright?”
~ ~ ~
Word: Autobiography. Noun, singular. Def: The history of a persons life, written or told by that person. Alternatively, the spontaneous accounting of one’s life. What’s your autobiography?
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