At the end of the chain

All my life I’ve been at the end of any gossip chain: the last to know who likes who, who hates who, who’s getting married, divorced, promoted, or fired.

When I was 22, everyone in the tiny nonprofit where I worked took a pay cut. What I didn’t know was that everyone but me negotiated back at least a bit of their cut. When I finally found out, five years later, the response from my friend: “we thought you knew; we thought you were doing the same thing.”

When I was 30, at a different job, I had to ask when S and K were suddenly absent after a dramatic confrontation between them. They were on administrative leave; there was some sort of big mediation thing going on. “I thought you knew.”

So now at 41 I’m grateful to be in a situation where the people I’m closest to don’t assume that I know. But when I hear about missing stair situations, I think of myself in earlier years: always the last to know so many things.

“That guy, he’s a creeper, everybody knows.” I figure I’m probably finally too old now to be much of a target, but there’s somebody else like me out there. Everybody assumes she knows. She doesn’t know.

I don’t know what you should do. It’s complicated, obviously. What I wish others had done for me was to check and make sure that I knew.

Whatever you do, don’t leave her out there to find out on her own.

Author: Elaine Nelson

Elaine Nelson was directionless with an English degree in the late 90s and then: GODDAMN INTERNET. In her current gig, she wrangles content and content management systems, but her last job was Webmaster, so she's dabbled in all sorts of web work. She's an editor at The Interconnected, previously published in The Pastry Box, and once had a poem published in an anthology of GenX writing, when that was the big new thing.