Thursday, 6 June 2013

The Call

I've been waiting for the call for months. The only surprise has been that it has taken this long.

So when the Outlook invitation pops into my inbox, I hardly flinch. The subject line is vague. A "chat". We don't really do "chats". It can only mean one thing.

I dial in at the appropriate time. He's late, apologetic, flustered. I'm calm, collected. I know what's coming before he even has time to clear his throat. He launches into the usual platitudes. "Difficult business conditions...ongoing restructuring". I hear the words and inwardly I laugh. It feels funny being on the receiving end. I've uttered those words myself too many times. I recognise the awkward tone...it's apologetic, polite, but definitely wanting to have the conversation over with. Must follow due process. Must follow the script.

He quotes numbers. I'm still grinning like a Cheshire Cat. "Don't worry", I say, "I totally understand". I do, you see. I'd be doing exactly the same in his position. There hasn't been enough work to go around for a while. I'm still smiling. If I keep smiling I can keep my tone upbeat. So funny.

"Call me if you want to chat about anything", he says, and we say goodbye.

It's only then that I burst into tears.

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