A quick check of the time and she knew there was no use trying to talk to anyone in Human Resources. That was just as well, she needed to consider carefully her course of action. Losing her job was not expected. Now she’d have to deal with the unemployment office, HR, and insurance companies. The prospect would have crushed the old Lu but the new Lu would not be defeated by paperwork. The drive home was punctuated by bursts of profanity directed at idiot drivers. Going into the house was hard. She half expected Mister to come silently down the stairs but it was still and empty. Dinner and the clean-up were quick, even with the dishes from the night before. She had eaten with a notepad at her elbow and jotted notes outlining her plan of attack. It was liberating to have an agenda and an attainable goal.
The adrenalin slowly wore off and she became more introspective. A smile played across her lips as she recalled the security guard. His last words were hesitant and hopeful wishing her luck and telling her how he would miss seeing her every day. She considered the possibilities but they evaporated as she considered her next move. Calling to the offices of Polder and Swale she made an appointment. The plastic receptionist tried to put her off for several weeks but the new Lu was having none of it. She had an appointment on Monday morning. The next step was to send the recording from her phone to herself as a wav file. Then she burned it to a CD. Without Mister she lost track of the time. It was well past midnight when she crawled into bed and fell into an exhausted sleep.
She woke up before the alarm went off. Saturday was going to be a day of activity. She tackled the closet. Out were all the dumpy clothes, clunky shoes, mannish sweaters and gender neutral shirts. The closet was nearly empty. Next was the dresser as she eliminated almost everything, even the men’s black crew socks. Although she had removed her entire wardrobe it all fit into 5 large grocery bags. They went into the trunk of the car after removing her work effects. The thrift store opened at 9:00 AM and Lu was there before the door was unlocked. It took her nearly until noon but she put together a new look for under $50. She was more feminine and colorful version of herself. She looked in the full length mirror and was pleased at what she saw.
She looked younger. She took her hair out of the rubber band and fluffed it. She gazed critically at her reflection. She didn’t look glamorous but she wasn’t homely either. For a brief moment she thought of Aurora but it was only because she was wearing a dress. There was still much to be done – a haircut and style, maybe even a manicure, a stop at the optical shop, the shoe store and even the dreaded mall. She figured if anyone could give her free makeup lessons it would be the maniacal women at Macy’s perfume counter. From there it would be to the dollar store to purchase makeup and any hair accessories. By 5:00 PM she was exhausted. It would have been easy to just go home but she felt compelled to stop at one more place. She pulled in and the sign said they were open until 7 PM. It took a couple deep breaths before she exited the car. She had put a wad of Kleenex into her coat pocket just in case.
Lu has made a decision. She is taking charge of her life. Who knows where this may lead? Stay tuned.