A Small Clause


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1 min
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111
Finalist
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Almost every day for the last 32 years, Judy Weingarten has listened to the stories, dreams, worries and wonders of innumerable people. Her work informs her deep empathy and understanding of the many  [+]

Image of Summer 2020

I have worked in the same office space for twenty years. It’s in a small house, built in 1949, and faces a park with paths and trees. I’m a therapist. Clients come to tell me their deepest hurts, how they’ve been broken by life and how they want to heal.
A year ago, the house that held my office was sold to investors. I began to pay rent to a property manager. The primary investors are dentists, and the property manager has the whitest, most even teeth. She tells me she likes plants and dogs, but people not so much.
Now the house holds business people: the property manager, an accountant, a young and perky marketing agent. To myself, I call them the teeth people. Still, I love my office and its comfort. I call out “good morning” as I come in for the day and turn on the electronic noisemaker for the privacy of my clients.
One month after the whole city was asked to shelter in place because of COVID-19, the property manager called to say she has something important to share. She went on to say the investors are exercising a small clause in my contract. The clause says I have to vacate in forty-five days. I cry as I try to understand. I’ve been here for twenty years. She says that if they allow me to stay it will bankrupt the investors. It’s an exaggeration, a lie—I can hear it in her voice. Then she says, “Who knew your clients used so much toilet paper?”
The following Monday evening I go to my office to bring my plants home. No one is there. I move through the enclosed back porch that served as the waiting room for my clients. As I try to get the tall pencil cactus in the back seat of my car without damaging its disorderly green branches, it all becomes clear to me.
She doesn’t want brokenhearted strangers, my clients, coming into the house, possibly carrying the virus along with their sadness and grief. Only safe teeth people are welcome. We’d all been wearing masks for weeks now. I realized she’d worn a mask for a year, I just couldn’t see it.
The small clause said I had forty-five days to clear out twenty years of my work, my life. I moved out in fourteen days.

 

111

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Image of Eve Stevens
Eve Stevens · ago
From a writer who is both vulnerable and brave, a beautiful view into the tenacity required to be good to one another and live compassionate lives. ❤️
Image of Jane Knowlton
Jane Knowlton · ago
I never tired of reading your work. It is always exceptional!
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Judy Weingarten · ago
Thank you, Jane!
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Houda Belabd · ago
My full support goes to this work because it is so involved that it deserves to be worshiped!
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Judy Weingarten · ago
Thank you so much, Houda!
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ALYAE B.S · ago
All of my 5 votes, u're so gifted and talented and you deserve to win. An invitation to read my text on final https://short-edition.com/fr/oeuvre/tres-tres-court/la-face-cachee-de-lisere
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Judy Weingarten · ago
Thank you so much!
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Barbara Whitt · ago
Judy, loved it even more after reading it again. Congratulations!
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Judy Weingarten · ago
Barbara, thank you very much!
Image of Cheryl Brown
Cheryl Brown · ago
Judy, your entry is splendid!
Image of Margaret Goforth
Margaret Goforth · ago
Congratulations Judy
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Judy Weingarten · ago
Thank you, Margaret!
Image of Tony Martello
Tony Martello · ago
Judy, congratulations on making it through to the finals. My continued support-5 votes. I also had an entry that made it through, "Maize of Color" feel free to vote for your continued support as well! Tony
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Judy Weingarten · ago
Tony, thank you so much. Congratulations on your amazing work!
Image of Keith Simmonds
Keith Simmonds · ago
Powerful and quite pleasant to read, Judy! My support !
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Judy Weingarten · ago
Keith, that means so much to me! Thank you!
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Keith Simmonds · ago
Many thanks, Judy ! I would be very grateful if you would read my poem and support it before tomorrow's deadline. Have a great day!
Image of Jan Brittain
Jan Brittain · ago
Congratulations Judy, wonderful writer of poignant, honest truth!
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Judy Weingarten · ago
Thanks so much, Jan!