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  • July was the office's winter. Consultants quit after bonuses were distributed. Others, like the senior associates who were the lifeblood of the office culture would "graduate" and move onto business school and other new adventures. Interns dipped their toes in the management consulting waters. VPs and clients took family vacation. And the births and marriages were always accompanied by family death, illness and divorce.

    Seasons. Cycles. Circle of life. Turn, turn turn... Experience and anticipation of the season never dulled the sorrow.

    The 1st July, I started my post-MBA career and was convinced it would be short-lived. Surely I would be fired that same month...

    The 2nd July, I grit my teeth and carried on. Still had to make good on that promise to myself to prove myself.

    The 3rd July, I started taking pictures. Poor photo quality from a humble pink Blackberry and I am no artist. Just another soul, anxious to remember. Bill's office was empty, characteristic of July. "The empty office reflects the hollowness I feel inside."

    The 4th July, loneliness upped the ante with perpetual influenza and a war inside my intestines. Better to die in the client's parking lot than to tell my innocent teammate, Jason about the internal bleeding. The following week, I clutched my gut, staring out at Alcatraz and mused, "This is probably not how 10-year wedding anniversaries usually go..."

    The 5th July, I grew up. Alex, Bill, Dan, Esther... held a mirror up for me. Selfishness. Resentment. The ugly ran deep. Ashamed that it may have hurt them more to say it than the embarrassment hurt me. Thankful that they cared to tell me.

    The 6th July, I left. Bill turned to his office and waved goodbye. When he was to return in August, he had arranged to move to the other side of the building. My inner Holden Caulfield said that he couldn't bear the thought of coming into work and not seeing me slouched in my cube, fuming at one of the job's daily inequities, as he had for years.

    "It's the end of an era," he said.

    I felt myself nod and whimper a smile.
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