Often, when birthday cards circulated around the office, Abigail would open them up and read all the nice things people had written on the inside. She would think of the person whose birthday it was and want to say something really nice, something really great, that would explain something deep and meaningful about how she felt for this person and how she hoped they would have not just an amazing birthday, but an amazing life. Abigail somehow wanted to convey that she understood this person, that she knew them and ‘got’ them, in a way this person had not realized until now, until they read this amazing message she had written on the inside of their birthday card. Even if Abigail didn’t get this person at all, even if she barely knew this man or woman, she wanted to say something that would surprise even Abigail with her insight, that would allow her to know them and see them in a way she hadn’t known she could have. But Abigail could never come up with the thing, this magical right and perfect thing, to write on the inside of a company birthday card. Her messages only hinted at what she wanted to say but never quite got all the way there. As a result, they came across as cryptic and slightly creepy.
Like her message to Gregg in accounting:
Gregg, you like to drink coffee early in the morning. Lots of people like to do this but you stand by the pot and take your first sip with your eyes closed. I hope the rest of your life tastes just like that sip. I hope you always close your eyes when you enjoy yourself. Happy birthday! Love, Abigail
To Vicki in production:
Vicki, I always know when you go to the bathroom because your shoes click on the linoleum floor and I can hear it from my office. It reminds me of my mom, who wore heals to work too, and how she used to come wake me up in the morning before she left for the office. I’ve always liked that sound. Your heals remind me of waking up. Every time you go to the bathroom it makes me smile. Happy birthday! Love, Abigail
Or to Alison, who worked in customer service as well and sat in the cubical next to Abigail:
Alison, sometimes when we are both talking on the phone at the same time it feels like I’m talking to your customer and you’re talking to mine. It’s like we’re both saying the same thing to the same people. Or like maybe we are the same people and this same conversation is happening all over the world and what we’re saying we’re saying together to everyone everywhere. Sometimes I think I could talk this way forever. Sometimes I think you and I could help everyone in the whole world if we only got our voices lined up exactly right. Happy birthday! Love, Abigail.
Most of the people at her work thought Abigail was very odd. They didn’t understand her birthday messages. But this un-understanding was understandable. Abigail wasn’t upset by it because she didn’t understand her messages either. She just wrote them. She just tried.