Reflections on a Queen

Part II

“Come again,” he says, his eyes unfocused like his mind.

“Do you want Karen for the early shift or Thomas,” I fight hard not to sound annoyed for this is the third time I ask.

“What day are we talking about again?”

I breathe in deeply, faking a smile. “Monday,” I reply in a voice that surprises me myself. How on earth did I just manage to stay so friendly?

“Ah yes,” he shrugs. “I don’t know. Who else do we have?”

“Two shifts, two colleagues available,” I moan. Now there it is, my impatience in full bloom and I know my Medici glare is not far away.

“Right,” he agrees, his eyes squinted as if he’s trying hard to focus. Concentration it couldn’t be, because after 90 minutes into our meeting I know for certain he has none whatsoever, especially not today.

“So Karen early, Thomas late,” I finally suggest, my fingers already typing it into our schedule.

“Sure, yes,” he nods. “That should work fine.”

I sigh relieved and turn onto the next day while he starts fiddling on his phone. He’s 50-something, mind you, my colleague, the scatter-brained professor. Charming if you like the type, friendly to boot but as reluctant to work as they come. I wouldn’t mind really if I could do all this scheduling by myself, but for some inexplicable reason I have to do this with him every month, although I always end up filling the shifts and am left with the difficult decisions, backlash included.

Why is that, I ask myself. He has the permanent job and generous pay while I am the freelancer fighting for enough shifts. Because life’s a bitch, I remind myself, shake my head and smile. No use really to get all worked up over this right now but definitely one of those moments when I relate to Reign’s Queen Catherine and her struggle to keep herself afloat in French court.

“What’s his name,” my colleague asks as he looks up from his phone and finds me briefly lost in thoughts.

“Now wouldn’t you want to know,” I raise my eyebrow and just look at him like the Medici Queen would.

Funny how a show merely produced for entertainment on a network aimed at tweens can bear so much truth on the life I lead every day. You have to see the humor in it really and embrace the nuances, one of the many things Catherine has taught me. That, and how the actress who portrays her once said so aptly, to keep your poisons safely locked away.

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