I have this horrified look on my face. I screwed up yet again. I have drained the whole glass of my cold coffee onto the crisp white shirt of some guy. Yes I am totally capable of doing things like these on a daily basis. Though I am well established in my career, or I was, and I do pretty well in my life, but I can never stop myself from making a big fool of myself. How I ended up in this coffee shop at the other end of the city from where I live? Well I’ll tell you.
It was just another day and I was running late to work as usual. It never mattered to me when I walked in my office later than I should. But today it was the day all my Managers are supposed to come to office. By Managers I mean up the hierarchy and I should have reached on time if not early. But out of habit, I ignored my alarm and woke up late. So I had to run to work. When I reached the meeting room, breathing heavily out of running, and everyone looked at me like I was some alien. Yeah I may have looked like one with my bun falling on one side, and some strands falling all over my face. Sweat trickling down from my temples, and I’d rather not mention the state of my shirt. I was no where close to looking professional. So I entered, and I felt weird, as if the sole purpose of this meeting was not the betterment of this organisation but betterment of Shanaya Jones, and that would be Me. I felt all the eyes on me, as I walked toward my seat.
I filled the silence with my ideas that I have prepared for this meeting. I am not good with apologies so I avoided saying sorry for being late. I was interrupted by my manager when he cleared his throat and said in a very low voice, “Shanaya as you know the situation here, though you have been working well, but since there have been zero catastrophe since last year, we are at loss”
I kept silent because I knew something was not quite right. He continued, “so we have to slack few people and though you have been an excellent employee, we had to come up to this difficult decision”. And my head went blank. The rest of the words that came out of my Manager’s mouth seemed too distant for my mind to register them. I have been working here for the past 7 years. I joined as an intern and had always been here. I never imagined leaving this place and my life which was pretty much perfect came to an abrupt halt. I feel like my life bumped into a tree that was nowhere to be seen.
I had to compose myself so I don’t make a fool of myself. I dragged through the day and left a bit early from work. After I sat in my car, I shook and a silent tear fell down my cheeks. I feel sick till the pit of my stomach. I started my car and subconsciously took off the route. Right when I was reaching my apartment, I took the left turn instead of right. I reasoned myself, nothing in my life is right, then why turn right. A chuckle escaped my mouth on how stupid I can be to crack jokes on myself.
I took the NH1 and absent mindedly took some side road and halted at some small coffee shop when my throat felt dry. I sat on a corner seat and ordered water and cold coffee. I was on my 7th glass and the waiter kept staring at me like I am some weirdo. Maybe I do look weird since my mascara must have been smeared out of crying. I don’t much care how I look when my life doesn’t look so good at the moment. Well now you must think how can I drink so much, that’s because I skipped my lunch. The news just made me sick and the hunger left my stomach.
The thought of the morning incident made my stomach lurch. I decided to dump my coffee and go to washroom. I got up and dashed into this man and spilled my coffee onto his shirt. And that brings us to now. Honestly I could just cry like a baby because I just feel like I need a reason to do so. But that’s not what I did. I didn’t take the blame but put it on this man, just because I can. I lashed it on him, for coming in my way. I even said you wasted my coffee, and what will I drink. Yeah! I know I feel so much evil, for lashing out on this innocent man, who just kept staring at me. Not in a bad way, instead in a strange way. Like he is searching for a solution. He made me feel bad all over again. Instead of shouting some more I apologised. And walked off before I made more big of a fool of myself, as if I haven’t done it already.
I came out of the cafe, walked to my car and banged my fist on the roof of my car. I covered my face with my palms and trembled with the feeling of failure. It’s not that I can’t get a job, I can, but I didn’t expect to get this as return for my work. I have dedicated my life to this organisation and what do I get? That’s what happens when you are not at the good side of the managerial politics. I blew a big breathe and uncovered my face. And wow, why is karma being a bitch to me? That same guy is standing in front of me, hands folded, serious expressions and tilted head. Now that I looked at him, he looks good too. And I am sure he must think the opposite of me.
I held his stare for a while and then dropped my head. I asked, “What? I said I am sorry for lashing out on you”
He replied with an amused expression, “That’s not why I am here, you just punched the hood of my car”
Oh My God! I slowly turned my head and this is not my car. This looked like mine with teary blurry eyes, because its black, otherwise it looks nothing like mine. Please Earth, swallow me now, Now, NOW!
I slowly turned to face him, and apologised again, and pointed out, that’s my car there. Why can’t I faint now, and wake up tomorrow when everything is alright. Why does it only happens in movies. This is the perfect time to faint. I offered a weak smile and tried to walk away when he blocked my way. And said with a smirk, “And why did you shout at me when you were the one who spilled coffee on me? Why did you hit my car? You know right, that your and my car are no where close to similar, except for the color of the car. So I shouldn’t believe what you said.”
I hate confrontations, and now when I don’t know the reason for my behaviour, or maybe I know but it will be stupid to confess it to a stranger. I thought of giving an excuse and then I did exactly opposite of that. Yes! I bawled out everything like I was talking to myself. I was loud, a little obnoxious. But its not like I’ll meet him. He is just like a paper to me, I will scribble my feelings and throw him away. Yeah! And for this karma will come to me in future but I’ll deal with it then. Right now I need to vomit the feelings I have in me and I did. After I was worn out of all my words and felt a bit dizzy, I turned at the man sitting beside me, calm and composed, hearing every bit seriously. His profile looks good in the darkness of the sky, and the only light shedding from the distant night lamp.
He sighed and said, “that’s the very wrong thing that happened to your loyalty, but I am not sure what I can do that will help you” and that’s when I realised he already helped me. I smiled and offered my hand to him, “Hi, I am Shanaya Jones, and whoever you are, you have already helped me. I already feel better than I did all day”. He took my hand and shook it. He said while he kept the hold of my hand “Nice to meet you Shanaya, I am Noel Patrick, and I have no idea how I helped you, but I am glad I could help”
I smiled lightly and took my hand back. I smoothed my palms on the hair to tame the strands that God knows how they look. Honestly I don’t even want to see myself now, or else I will lose the bits of confidence left in me. He got up, offered his hand. I took his in mine, pulled myself up and adjusted my shirt and skirt. He walked me off to my car and I got into it. I slided my window glass down, and looked out of it to him. He smiled sweetly, and my heart swelled. I felt good, like something good happened today, even if I never would see him again. I pulled my head in, and was pulling the window glasses up, when he held it with his palms, and bent down to look at me. And then he said, “I am glad I met you, and can I be there for you the next time when you want to lash out on someone?” With this he offered me his card, and I curled my fingers around it and smiled. I shut the window, started the engine, and left for home. I had this foolish grin on my face on my way home.