Outro: In a Sunroom, Elora

Matthew Mina

Published Winter 2021

Your office has this neat sunroom

which you sometimes guide your clients into.

If scheduled at the right time of day

the sun cascades over a maze of vibrant and varied foliage.

A hearty Oxalis

on top of a novella called Helping

leans towards the window, off its table,

spying the sun go down in those later hours.

A cat that, luckily,

rigidly flaunts her carnivore status,

stretches back and forth in her own bed by your client’s side.

By the door there are several second-hand instruments and art supplies,

clouding some minds with vague potentialities,

and on the other side, instant coffees and teas eagerly primed for usage.

You both first glance out and, for a moment, take the day in:

someone’s half-painted birdhouse,

a barking neighbourhood dog,

and the gentle echo of homeward-bound traffic.

The day eventually comes to a close,

and your client looks to you.

Smiling, eyes in their subtlest hinting of rainfall:

like a passenger on a train, watching Oxgodby disappear.

They hand you a thank you letter,

and several minutes later are once again whisked away

to that other town, into a different story:

one as complex as your own.

You grab a pen, wanting to write a date inside the card,

but under its cheap, faded exterior

you find that its ink reservoir has dried up.

‘Oh, right,’ you think.

That was one you vaguely remember a past client three years ago brought,

promptly forgot,

and never cared to return for.

Your hand returns it and fishes for another.

‘Poor fools,’

you think as you swipe down the numbers.

‘They’re doing my job for me.’

This piece is a 2nd person look into a worker who finds meaning in their life by helping their clients. It starts with a description of a welcoming environment, and in the end shows how this particular worker commemorates these achievements with souvenirs of sorts: thank you cards, or oddly enough even a dead pen.
The job in mind is a therapist with a very customized office – but that is purposely left vague in order to let readers project any other job that might make sense.

Fun fact: It references two short stories: Robert Stone’s Helping, and J. L. Carr’s A Month in the Country, which partially influenced the theme.

Matthew Mina is in his second year of Social Development Studies, and you can find more about him here:

Instagram:@mattmna

Website: swingfaith.wordpress.com