It was in the middle of the day when it began. The room was small, the air thin, but stuffy, and all I could think of was my task. I had been given very detailed instructions, warned of the importance of my work. There were to be no mistakes. Stress was high, but I had known from the start, this had to be done. So there I was, standing, the wooden handle of my blade held high. My muscles tensed in the moment, I had done this so many times before, yet it was still so unfamiliar. No one ever gets used to something like this, being sent in to make the final marks, then sent out, as though no man had even entered the room. I was a machine, meant for but this one task, programmed for the one function. My mind could wander wherever, but my body was to do but one thing.
My breath deepened, as I pushed the blade down. It fell, lower and lower, till it reached it’s mark. It was swift, it had to be. So quick, yet it seemed to last so long. Seconds became minutes, minutes became hours, everything slowed. My ears became shot with the sound, such a horrid sound, it was as though someone were riding ice skates down a steel path. It pierced my ears like the sharp screech it was, screaming as my blade fell further.
Then it all stopped, all the sound, all the movement, everything. It was an abrupt silence. Light drifted in through the skylight above. I saw what I had done. It was as clear as the sky above me. That which had once been one, was now in two, a perfect two at that.My blade was rugged, yet the mark was so clean. The paper was in a perfect state for the lanyards which it was to be placed. It was one of many to be cut, but it was the first. I was brought back to reality, brought back from my mental displacement. I had returned, yet I felt as though I had left something behind. Something that I would never be able to replace. I looked down, I needed to know what was gone. I was greeted by the gaze of the paper cutter, so old, the spring echoing it’s squeak, but I didn’t find the answer. I couldn’t, because what I had left behind was no longer in the room with me.
In fact, it was in the room over, only a short walk away, but it had been forgotten. The lanyards. I had cut the name tags, but I needed the plastic containers to truly finish my task. I had done so well, yet still it was incomplete. I walked over, grabbed them, and began stuffing the name tags into the plastic. Honestly, it was really fast. And then, my task was done.