ally getting louder. Mr. Tillman cleared his throat. As if through a tunnel, he heard him say, “Percy? You wanted to see me?” He glanced around Percy’s cubicle for what must have been the first time. Percy watched him take in what he saw. His eyes stopped on Garfield. Percy wished Garfield would tell Mr. Tillman. “Yes, sir. Um, thank you for coming by. I appreciate, um, your time,” Percy said in what seemed like a loud whisper. He had to retain his voice. Whitney and Garfield were counting on him. “Sure, Percy. What can I help you with? I’m on a tight schedule today, so I hope this is bri-.” He stopped as he said the word ‘brief ’ to pick up the picture of Whitney and Percy. Percy stood back, surprised by the gesture as no one had ever touched his things, especially not something so important. “Who is this beauty that you are with here, Percy. Is she your girlfriend or wife? I didn’t think you were married.” Percy felt like his heart stopped. He watched Mr. Tillman take the picture and bring it close to his face and then put it back. “That was my girlfriend, Mr. Tillman. That’s Whitney.” “Oh, I’m uh, I’m sorry, Percy. I, uh, didn’t know. Girls come and go, don’t they? But it doesn’t lessen the hurt, does it?” “No, sir. No it doesn’t lessen it.” Mr. Tillman took a heavy breath and scratched his head. He closed his eyes before continuing, “What was it you needed? Something urgent?” Percy looked up at Garfield’s eyes and tail moving at a pace that seemed normal again. Everything seemed normal again. “Well, sir. I wanted to tell you that my birthday is this month. I’ll be 29. I wanted to tell you because we’ve never gone out to celebrate, and I want to this month.” Mr. Tillman tilted his head to study Percy as one would study an animal in the zoo. “Okay, Percy. I’ll tell Marcia, and we will absolutely celebrate it. I didn’t realize we missed i-“ “And I want on the company’s WiFi. I’ve worked here for five years after all.” “Okay. Okay, sure, Percy. Is that it then?” Percy waited for the feelings to invade, and he paused to hear Whitney. He couldn’t. He looked at Garfield, and he swore he saw him look away. Percy was alone. “Yes, sir. That’s it.” “Okay, Percy. I’ll see you at your birthday lunch then. Good day to you, sir.” “Yes. For my birthday.” He looked at Whitney. She was still smiling.