We Need to Talk.

Posted on Apr 10, 2013

I answered the phone and after the obligatory chit-chat about how we were today (which was supposedly ‘fine’) his voice dropped. He spoke in a measured kind of way. He was carefully choosing each word, because when they came, they came out slowly and deliberately.

“There’s . . . . something we need to talk about,” and he stopped. The phone was quiet.

It may have been three seconds before I uttered, “Okay…?” or it may have been a century. I’m guessing it was a century because in that space and time I was able to run like hell through the full gamut of human emotions and my mind had an obscene amount of time to spin off into a maze of questions about every decision and indecision I had and hadn’t made that concerned him, or sort of concerned him, or perhaps should have concerned him.

Had he not said it with such exactitude I doubt I would have been rattled. But the way he said it gave me no option but to be certain that what was coming next was a delicate matter. It was important. And certainly, absolutely, he had been waiting too long to bring it up.

I didn’t hear him take a deep breath, but he must’ve. The words came on a calculated, controlled exhale.

And in that moment I hated being on the phone. I hated it because I couldn’t survey his face to see the subtle and telling little things we do with our mouths while we speak words that are difficult to say. I couldn’t search his eyes for more than he was saying. I would never know if he was fidgeting or frozen motionless in trying not to give away more information than he thought was wise to.

And in that same moment I was relieved to be hidden by the phone. He could not see me give in to the long, long blink of despair as I searched for answers encrypted on the backs of my eyelids. But either my eyelids were blank or I couldn’t decipher the messages because I came up with nothing. Suspense closed around my throat.

I was adrift, bobbing there in the wide-open sea with nowhere to go, awaiting the fate he was about to bring down. I wanted to prepare myself but I didn’t know how so instead I tried to keep from choking.

Then, as if he knew I was only moments from drowning, he spoke, “Now, about this fancy purse – we need to…” and he went on about choosing a time to go to Louis Vuitton to get the handbag I had earned for a (work) mission accomplished and how it should be during the week and to please let him know what day I want to go and….

Exhale.

Brace yourselves, people. Life can be excellent.

P. S. The Mission I chose to accept at work: win a career-defining industry award for the company – the equivalent of an Oscar for a film Director. The Mission’s Reward: a Louis Vuitton handbag

 

 Image via Jonathan Hayward

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3 Comments

  1. Charity
    April 10, 2013

    Now it’s time for your Oscar!!!

  2. A&E
    April 11, 2013

    Now an Industrial Award winning WRITER.!!!!!
    You can’t imagine how proud we are of you.
    I believe we’ll tell everyone we know about the
    Industry Wide Award Winning WRITER the are lucky
    enough to have in OUR family. (Everybody else eat your hearts out)
    WOW Louis Vuitton.
    I guess your new journey has brought you face to face with yourself.
    Pretty nice huh?
    Congrats again…………….