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First Day On the Job

Sam Puck

"Metropolis" Gentry McEwen

My family would describe me as someone who is laid back, not quick to anger or startle, and one who worries over little. Unfortunately, this was not the case as I neared my first day at work.


Questions rushed through my head as I approached the home décor shop. Things that never crossed my mind seemed to taunt me: Am I too early, too late? Where should I park? Do I come in the front door, the back? Am I dressed appropriately?


I wasn’t one to get flustered, but that day, worry seemed to be spewing in from every direction. I didn’t know what had gotten into me. I roughly ran my hand through my thick curly hair, taking weakened strands with me.


After some contemplation, I pulled into a parking spot in front of the back door. I shifted my car in park, hesitated, and looked around. My nerves eased when I didn’t spot any other cars in the area, including my boss’s—who happened to be the aunt of my boyfriend. I must be early. As I started to reach for my seatbelt, I tensed up and began to wonder: where exactly does my boss usually park? Was I in her spot? My brain was foggy and running like a race car. I turned my key until I heard the engine spur. I shifted my car into reverse and whipped back into the alley when I cringed at a noise I’ll never forget: the sound of a million shards of glass tumbling to the pavement.


I froze in my seat. I had no idea what had just happened, but I couldn’t bring myself to look at what I had done. I inched into a parking spot a few stores down and slowly turned my stiffened neck to view the destruction I had caused. My back window was now a portal that allowed the frigid winter air to enter. Behind my initial parking spot was an unharmed blue dumpster with remnants of my window scattered beneath it.


As if the embarrassment wasn’t enough, a man emerged from a nearby alley and chuckled at the mess I had created. “Hey, I think your window broke,” the passerby said.


“Wow, thanks,” I muttered under my breath. I scanned my brain for my next move, realizing I had no idea what to do next in the situation. My instincts kicked into gear and I momentarily stopped biting my fingernails to punch in the number for the only person who would know what to do: my dad.


After three rings, the familiar voice answered: “What do you want now?”


Words stumbled across my tongue as I mumbled what had just happened. “I was parking… then I… there was a dumpster. My window shattered.”


After a long, confusing conversation, my father assured me he would be at the scene as soon as possible to clean up my mistake. My heart rate slowly returned to normal and my nerves shortly followed. My shaking hands pulled the car door open and I walked in the store to tell my new boss about my latest catastrophe. I must have looked distressed because her first words were, “What’s wrong?”


Again, nonsense words gushed out of my mouth in stutters. “Y…you know that d…d…dumpster back there. I didn’t know where to park. I didn’t realize it was back there and BAM, there went my window,” I said. I felt the blood rushing to my checks. I imagined how red my face was. Thankfully we were both able to laugh it off and get to work. After a few hours, I almost forgot about what had happened earlier that day.

That night, after my shift, I found my car parked next to the evil dumpster. It sported a brand-new window as well as a receipt on my dash from a junkyard that my father left for me. I was a bit discouraged that my earnings today wouldn’t even cover half of the replacement window, but my disappointment quickly faded to gratitude for what my father had done for me. What would I do without him?


That day showed me that my family will always be there to help me out no matter the circumstances. Even the embarrassing ones.

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