When he finally got back to work he was surprised they threw him a party. WELCOME BACK PAUL! was written on a big banner across the back wall. Someone had ordered a confectioner’s-sugar cake with frosting flowers on the corners. It said the same thing as the banner. “Welcome back, Paul” said Jill as he was at the punch bowl. The cup was on the table as he ladled punch in with his right hand. His left was wrapped in gauze.

“Let me help you with that” said Jill. Paul had a strange feeling this had happened before. She took the ladle and their hands touched. She picked the cup up in her right hand and used her left to lift the spoon. “You know” she said “we were worried about you. When Jerry heard about your hand he said ‘There goes one of our best data entry men.’” “I still can’t really move my left hand” said Paul. “That’s alright you can take your time with the entry.” “I’m sorry.”

“Sorry for what” she looked at his eyes. He imagined her seeing fisheye versions of herself in them. “I don’t know” he said because it was true. “It’s alright anyway” she said and placed the full punch cup in his right hand.