There he goes, walking through the Final Portal, leaving me here in this office again.
I always get a little flashback ss the doors swing shut, back to my Delivery Day which feels so long ago now, the day I said goodbye to the Transporter – a large and kind van that wished everyone well whether they were arriving or departing – and entered my Place of Destination.
I’m getting older and those memories are starting to fade now so sometimes I have to concentrate really hard to recall what life used to be like beyond the Final Portal, remembering how nervous I was as we all huddled together in the Great Birth House of Ware, listening to rumours of where we might go, what might happen to us, and the perils of the journey ahead; beware the Idiot Who Drops.
I can remember parts my journey, hazy images shimmer, a bright warm glowing light falling on my surfaces. I can see that light now as I look at the where the Uprights go but I must have upset it as it doesn’t even look my way any more. I miss the way it felt, warm on my metal and wood.
More Uprights leave and the evening chatter begins. From the other end of the room I can hear Matilda complaining about the third cup of tea that she’s had spilled on her. I feel sorry for her, her companion Up and Downer, Gareth, is never very sympathetic. I think he misses Federico, I’m still not sure why they were separated but the Uprights never seem to think about these things. I’m glad I’m not on wheels.
We never really know how long our companions will be with us, nor who our neighbours will be; the Uprights like to move us around sometimes, oblivious to our feelings and friendships. They can be such selfish, thoughtless things.
That said I guess I’m lucky, my companion and I have been together for many years now, and my Upright likes to keep me tidy and rarely spills anything on me. Some of my neighbours aren’t as lucky though, and every night I look over and see them covered in bits of paper and cold coffee cups, the detritus of the working day left to rot overnight.
Ahhh, here comes the Bright Mover, keys jangling on his belt. He is a very different kind of Upright, at least as far as I can tell. Solitary and slow, he likes to look us over as he passes, moving the Bright Circle he casts slowly back and forth. I think he must like us as he does this a few times every night. I watch as he wanders off again through the Final Portal, the doors gently flick-flacking to a close.
As the night passes we chat quietly about this and that. Mostly we talk about the things we’ve seen that day and, as the night deepens, the older ones regale our newer friends with the things we have seen. And then everyone moans as Peppa the Curved starts to drift off into her usual worrisome thoughts about the day she will once again pass through the Final Portal on her way to the death fields of Take it to the Dump.
I feel sorry for Peppa, she’s seen so many of her type go that way, she stands alone amongst the Straight Edges, a matriarch out of time. Sometimes I think about the death fields and have to admit it scares me. No-one really knows what happens there, I’ve never heard of anyone coming back, unless you believe the old story we were all told as children; The Tale of Old Oak. As the legend goes, there is one of us who made it back from the death fields and back to new Place of Destination but every time I’ve heard the story the details change slightly so I don’t really believe it. It’s still scary though. I hope Peppa shuts up soon.
Thankfully the light is brightening so soon we will be joined by the Uprights again. These Uprights are the ones we all secretly like the most, with their tickly feathers and cloths, and we all love to see Henry each morning, he’s always so cheery and genuinely happy. I think he’s a bit simple but you can’t help but smile when he’s around.
And then, before long, my Upright is walking back through the Final Portal, rolls my companion back, gently places his laptop on me, and the day begins once more.