Sliding doors

Writing prompt for the day: Remember the last time you refused to do something that somebody suggested. Imagine you didn’t refuse. Write the outcome.

As the alarm goes off, as it has every 10 minutes for the last hour and a half, I listen to it for a little longer considering whether I should actually get up.

I struggle to open my swollen eyes, pat the cat and decide that if she gets up, I will too. She does, so I head to the shower and get in before the water has time to warm up, letting the cool water run across my face and sooth my tear filled eyes.

After showering I cover myself in massage oil scented with essential oils of bergamot and clary sage. I look in the mirror, my face is tired and sad. I force a smile and say aloud an affirmation for the day, “My work is exciting, my talented colleagues and I are working on projects that will make a difference to society. I am a worthy and a valued member of the team.” I laugh aloud and then repeat it with more vigor and humour.

As I walk into the office building, waiting for the lift, I look at my colleagues, their eyes dull and staring blankly. I smile at them, compliment one on their necklace and how it makes the colour of her eyes sparkle. Her face changes immediately as she tells me how she bought it in New York, smiling reflectively as she remembers her holiday. She goes every year to buy a new wardrobe.

As my day continues, it gets harder to maintain the illusion of lightness.

I start organizing lunch dates and after work drinks ready to say what I really feel about work and to complain yet again about how unfulfilled I am.

Later that day, after a few wines, I can feel the tears well again so I head home, thankful that I am walking, music in my ears, so I can forget and not regret when I refused the option to put my hand up for redundancy package that would enable me to explore my passions.

I try to remember, as my friends say, of how lucky I am to be in such a well-paid job but my heart still doesn’t want to hear it.

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