“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.
Monday morning, 6am. Barely two hours of sleep and Megan didn’t win. Her award that is, the heart of her fans she did. But then, she had those sacked before, no ceremony needed, no nomination or award. Just her work and everyone is happy, including me as I sleep-walk into the bathroom, a quick shower to force myself awake. A quicker breakfast is what follows, Italian bread, honey, a cup of ginger tea. Now I should be able to face the day.
On my way to work then, I suddenly remember: I hurt my foot the other day, still don’t know how, but wearing high-heeled boots surely isn’t helping. But running late as usual, I rush on. Three weeks I walked in Canada with a hole in my foot, so why should a pulled muscle be any worse? So I get used to the discomfort by walking through the pain and manage to remain within an acceptable margin of delay. Until the train decides to pull a bitch on me. Strangers walking on the rails, the announcement says, police coming in to solve the issue. That’s when I realize, it’s Monday morning, the 13th. One stop I managed to get closer to work and then back to where I started. But lucky me, a bus is coming right away, an express even. I’m relieved. So off we go making up for lost time until a truck gets in our way, backing into a driveway in slow motion. Needless to say we’re stuck in the middle of the street. No internet connection, no escape. Why I’m so calm, I cannot possibly say.
As I arrive at central station fifteen minutes later, I crave a coffee but no Starbuck’s anywhere in sight, only a guy stopping my walk flow on the stairs three fluffing times. He gets the Medici glare and jumps aside. Paid off to wear black and gold today, it seems. I wonder why…
“I don’t know,” my friend shrugs. She’s a fresh 22 and looks at life with much more cynicism than I did when I was her age. “I don’t see Catherine with any man. Somehow no one seems to fit her strength.”
I look at her for a moment, then nod, “I think I know what you mean.” And yet it feels strange to hear myself saying that, especially since my friend only recently told me how much I remind her of Catherine on occasion. So what does that say about me?
“She’s so self-sufficient,” my friend continues. “It feels odd to suddenly see her so vulnerable, so needy.”
“She isn’t needy,” I protest before I realize my friend has struck a chord. “She just wants to be loved.”
“Yes, maybe.” A laugh.
“And she deserves to be loved,” I argue with someone who I know is too young to understand the pain that lies in the realization that, by the end of the day, love is as rare a find as luck.