And so it was, they were now accountability partners to this new approach to separation of work before stepping in at home. The first few weeks were not easy. Work just followed as it always did.
Then, Tess started experimenting with doing more than just a brief pause. What if she took time to sit quietly outside the house, relax, meditate, and then symbolically shook off the work day off her shoulders?
Tommy thought it was a bit silly, so he went the more traditional route of hitting the gym first to unwind. That to him made more sense. Then, after work, he could either swing by a bar for a drink, or pick up a book from the library to read and keep him in his zen zone.
Over time, they both perfected their break and routine. Both started listening less to the news on their commute home and tuned into music instead. They both paused on their way out the door of work. A few others at work started to do the same, not because they were in on the plan, but because they noticed how much happier and low stress Tommy and Tess were since starting this pause thing… not to mention way more productive and well recognized for it.
Tess found the sun relaxed her and put her in the mood to workout more. She even took to replying to her friends on social media during her pause. They always made her laugh and lifted her mood. Now she was returning the favor with humor of her own.
The last part of her ritual that she hoped Tommy never found out, which could be embarrassing, was to pretend to kick off the dust off her feet from work as she stepped into her house. It was rather silly really. Stupid she thought. But it worked like charm to put separation between the work stress and home life.
One day, Tommy passed by and saw the leg shake. To her total blushing mortified embarrassed self, Tommy stopped, backed up, and got out of his car and walked up to her. This was bad.
The smile Tommy had was way too much for his pleasant personality. The man looked like he had found his favorite movie star. They chatted a bit and he seemed to ignore the hints that she wanted to disappear inside her house and die from embarrassment.
Luckily, Tommy was not talking about work, that would have killed the zen and the purpose of unwinding before stepping in. Instead, after babbling about, he asked her out on a date.
Not sure what to say, she stammered some excuse why she couldn’t. With a confident smile, Tommy said “Before you step into your house, don’t shake off my proposition, as cute as your shoe-play is” finishing with a wink.
Tess wanted to die. Tommy was hot. They were buddies at work. He had seen her foolish ways, yet, was not deterred. She watched him head back to his car and saw him mockingly do a leg shake before opening up his car door. She was beyond blushing now.
Quickly diving in the house for cover, her phone buzzed. It was Tommy. Timidly taking the call, she heard him thank her for accepting his date, as she had not shaken that off before stepping in. She giggled and shook her head.
Something had changed. Something new had taken hold. The care and humor in his voice was different. Maybe it was a good thing that he had seen her pretend to shake off some dust off her heels. This would be interesting to watch.
photo courtesy of tessx66 of Instagram who both inspired this post with her insightful and positive chat.. but also provided some of her photos to add “spice” to the short short story. Thank you very much Tess 🙂
(while the characters were inspired by Tess, they in no way reflect who she is as a person… other than the smiling positive disposition. All other resemblances are purely coincidental and accidental)