morning coffee: Duck Stain

There’s a stain on my cubicle wall, and it looks like a duck.

It’s been there as long as I’ve worked here, but I don’t recall it ever looking like a duck. I don’t recall it looking like anything other than an amorphous blot.

I asked my coworker about it yesterday.

“Hey E—,” I said. “Who worked at this desk before me?”

“No one,” he said. “That desk was empty before you. It’d been empty since we moved here from the other building.”

“Then where did that come from?” I pointed to the smudge.

“Looks like a coffee spill.”

“From whom?”

“I don’t know. J—, maybe. She comes in from home to work sometimes. She might have tipped a cup at some point.”

“But J— usually works at that desk.” I pointed to the cubicle next to mine.

“You’re right. I guess she wanted a change of scenery.” He laughed. I smiled politely and examined the stain. It reminded me of something, but I couldn’t quite place it. I shrugged and went back to work.

Today the stain looks like a duck. It appears to have grown since yesterday. I can clearly spot a beak, wings, and two webbed feet; it looks less like a coffee stain and more like an untethered shadow, slightly askew from my desk lamp. No one else has spilled anything, as far as I can tell, and the old blot is gone completely, replaced by this new shape.

And I still can’t quite place what it reminds me of. It seems important. In fact, I remember thinking to myself, ‘Jacob, you should remember this. You’ll need this in the future. You should write it down so you don’t forget.”

But I didn’t write it down, and it’s gone. Maybe it will come to me sometime.

If I do remember, I’ll post it here. If the stain changes (or the old one returns), I’ll be sure to update.

Word: incogitable

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