Melt the contradictions into oblivion I tell myself.
“Mary, can we discuss the crucifix in your office?” My boss stands awkwardly at the threshold of my cramped office.
Instantly defensive, I respond in my most convincing corporate voice, “Is there a problem?”
“Let’s chat in my office,” she throws back in a tone clearly asserting her authority.
I follow her through a corridor sporting yellowing paint; asbestos tiles in various tints of cheery beige checker the floor. Her leather Mary Janes emit an audible squeak making my teeth itch with annoyance.
I’m invited to take a seat at a funky café table used when reprimanding employees. The premise is ‘we’re just girlfriends chatting.’
Clearing her throat, she shoots me a look of concern. I want to tell her to get on with it, but remain silent trying to look indifferent. “Please take the crucifix off your bulletin board.”
“Why?” I push back before she finishes.
“Others have mentioned it to me.”
“Do you have names?”
“Mary, you know I can’t tell you that.” She volleys in her corporate voice.
The offending object is a tiny wood crucifix hanging near my computer.
“Some religious articles make people uncomfortable.”
“This is the YWCA for Christ’s sake. The Young Women’s Christian Association!” I exclaim through clenched teeth. “It’s not my business if you dislike the Catholic Church. The crucifix was in my dad’s office. I got it when he died.” I tell myself I’m not her servant, this is just a job.
“Please remove it by the end of the workday.”
“Are you making Sara remove her Indian Dream Catcher? Or Rosita her Day of the Dead skull?”
She looks defeated but doesn’t respond.
“You can’t sing the tolerance song unless you’re tolerant of every religion,” I state as I stand to leave.