She gave me my plaque, wrapped in gold paper, and suddenly her face was red and her eyes were wet and she was turning away from me.
We've had a tough two years, especially right around the one-year mark, when we'd stopped trying so hard to be nice, but had not yet figured out how to interact with each other. The honeymoon was over, as they say.

There were times when I hated her, really hated her, and cursed myself for volunteering for a second year with her. But then there were days like today, when the hardness fell away and she acted more like a human and less like an Army robot.

Which isn't to say these happy days didn't also add to the trouble. We'd have a good day, a shared afternoon at the thrift store or a quick trip to Rita's for water ice, a finished newsletter that we both worked really hard on or the sweet last day of training for one of our mobilizing units. I'd drive home with a smile, deciding maybe I was wrong, she is a good boss, and everything is going to be ok.

The next day I'd go to work with the same smile - and it would immediately be beaten from my face. She'd belittle my efforts or severly overtask me, take her bad mood out on me, force me to help her with personal matters (like her taxes, and her grad school classes, and helping her find a house). I'd be most furious with myself for letting my guard down. She does suck. Nothing is ok.

Today, though, with her teary farewell speech and the carefully wrapped presents, made me realize it is the happy days that matter - it will be these days that I take away with me. I will choose to remember this time fondly.

"I'll be back, not tomorrow, but Thursday, for a little while," I said, and she enthusiastically nodded.

"Ok babe. Have a good afternoon. See you Thursday," she said.

- Antiope

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