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Who is Maria? - A Short Story

Updated: Sep 8, 2020

I remember the day I woke up. The smell of carpet permeated my senses as I realized I was lying on the floor in the office. I lifted my head to see desks organized into groups and people milling around.

My legs were stiff so I stretched them out and crawled up onto my feet. Dusting off my suit as I looked around and heard muffled sounds drifting across the bright space. People were talking, but I couldn't understand the conversations.

Some co-workers hurried from desk to desk with a purpose and others sat at their desks tapping on their computers.

My eyes drifted across their desks and I noticed the same pattern emanating from their screens. Then I saw it was on the walls, on the carpet, on people’s clothing. I asked about it, but no one saw it.

"Perhaps," I thought to myself, "they have seen it for so long it blended into their daily routine."

Carefully I traced it with my figures and asked myself, "Who was Maria?"

"Maria, Maria, Maria," was written in everything. I looked down into my coffee foam and there it was again.

The tag 'David' hung upon the grey fabric of the cubicle next to mine. I leaned across the partition and asked, "Hey, excuse me. Is the name Maria written in everything you see?"

He stared at me as if I'd asked the an obvious question, but had been wary of voicing it.

"Yes," he whispered. "I've been here for hours and no one has noticed it but you."

"Maybe we should leave." I said and he agreed.

We headed for the exit and shoved the escape bar on the door to enter the stairwell. Part of me expected an alarm to sound, but there was only silence. The cool metal railings lead down to the floor below and we opened the door.

A lady dressed in white sat behind a dark wooded desk at the end of a narrow hall. As we approached she looked up and said, "Hello, I am The Maker's assistant. Can I help you?"

The clinical sound of her voice raised the hair on my arms, but I was not to be deterred from our quest, so I asked, "Who is The Maker?"

She pointed to a set of iron encrusted doors and warned, “No one goes in there."

David's face softened and he began to engage her in a friendly conversation. Her name was Nancy and the pattern was something she had grown accustom to seeing everyday. It worried her.

She felt that the pattern was somehow connected to The Maker and we became convinced that we could not escape without finding him.

I stepped back from her desk, turned and opened the doors to his office. As I entered they followed me in and we found a man asleep at his desk. I crossed the space to his side and shook his shoulder to wake him. Nancy protested, but his eyes fluttered open before she could stop me.

“Would you like some coffee?” I asked him.

He smiled and nodded yes.

As he regained his lucidness, he showed us around his office. I waited for the right moment to ask him about Maria. He took his time describing his designs and as if the question had left my lips, he drew the name 'Maria'. His desk was full of items and in everything he made, the name 'Marie' was woven into them, like one of those puzzles you would do as a child.

“Who is Maria?” I asked.

His eyes narrowed and he began to scowl. Nancy backed away, but I wasn’t going anywhere. He became agitated and told us to leave, but I refused. I stood before him and looked straight into his eyes.

"Maria is important to you, someone you trust, someone you love." I said and we watched his aggression melt.

"Maria?" he asked and stared at me. Then I remembered who I was and why I was there.

"Daddy?" I asked. "Yes, it is me, your Maria. I want you to come back with me. I want you to come home."

Tears welled up in his eyes and we heard a massive intake of air. It was like someone breaking the surface of a dark underwater cavern and gasping for breath. Then we saw him framed by soft light bleeding in from a window. As he sat up in his bed, Nancy, our nurse, rushed into the room. Her voice calmed him as she gently pulled out the intubation tube.

David and I looked at each other and cried for joy. Our father came back and he was alive.

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