In the long gray halls, I stare down at my red stripe tie when he passes. In the lunchroom, I sit with the same people I’ve always known and scowl at him when he comes near our Scrabble board.

I don’t want to meet the new guy at work. I don’t want to find out if he’s easy going, awkward, funny, or plain. Whatever he is, he’s been here with another face, and there will be another to replace him when he’s gone.

I hate his authentic laughter. I hate his questions, but, even more, I hate his intrigue at the answers. I hate that he watches me like a child looking for a role model.

He wants to run at the same pace as the herd, but I couldn’t care less if he’s trampled.

He’ll grow comfortable in a few months. Somehow he’ll find his place and acceptance. But I’ll still hate him from afar, hate him because he’s doing my job and on my level, hate him because I’ve been here longer and no one seems to fucking care.

I’ll hate him when he leaves. But mostly I’ll hate that I’ll still be here when he comes back.

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