The Interview - A Short Story

The Interview (A Work of Fiction)

I ironed my shirt then realized there were two creases in the sleeve, which meant I would have to redo the whole sleeve after damping it.  I wasn’t really nervous but I wanted to have time for a proper breakfast before my meeting in the morning, so, I opted to prepare my clothing the night before.  Maybe I should have taken it to the cleaners but that was now a moot point. This meeting was the first step into my new life, a life I spent every waking moment of the last four years thinking about and planning for. I spent the last four years working for a small but reputable advertising agency. While I wore many hats; the pay check reflected that of one small hat.  I was ready to take on more of a challenge and earn more money of course, I was ready for the mega agency. Placing my leftover Chinese food in the microwave, I thought “Man…I should have gotten the Kenneth Cole pumps; they would go perfectly with my black pants.”  The microwave and the phone beeped in unison and I was momentarily confused as I tried to decide which one to get first. I was starving and that person on the phone could wait…I just let it ring.  After finishing my food I returned my brother’s call and as it turned out, he was just checking in.  When I told him I just had Chinese leftovers he said what he always does, “Chinese leftovers are the worst because it’s leftover when you get it.”  I reminded him about my big day and he wished me luck, even though he was hoping I didn’t need it.

I was now psyched; my files were ready, and my portfolio to die for.  I had done a great good job of networking over the years; with the help of key endorsements and my past experience I was positive that this job was in the bag; all I had to do now was hand in my ticket and take it.  I checked, double checked and triple checked all the data the interviewer requested last time, then I decided to take a nap.  I got into bed then realized that I hadn’t spoken to Darren all day.  It may have been his turn to call me back but I was in such a good mood I really didn’t have time to do the usual “who called who and whose turn was it to call back” dance.  Darren was gorgeous and ambitious; he had had great success at a local engineering firm, but had big plans to venture out on his own in about a year. We had been dating for several months, but the word commitment was as foreign to him as Floridians to snow.  I convinced myself that I had no problem with this because I was at a point in my life and career where all I wanted to do was get that big job and establish a serious financial foundation.  This was all to culminate with my long term goal of starting my own advertising and PR firm. While I cared about Darren, I wasn’t about to be sidetracked by him or anyone else.  I’m not sure when it happened, but at some point during our conversation I agreed to see him, because within twenty minutes he was ringing my bell.

We greeted each other and he didn’t do the usual thing of going to the den and reaching for the remote and park the tube on Sports Center, I had come to expect this from him because he was such an avid sports fan. It didn’t matter if he had seen the tackle, catch, fumble or whatever fifteen times, each time he saw it was like the first time.  Instead of reaching for the remote he sat in the sofa and he motioned for me to sit next to him, I noticed he had a strange look on his face.  I didn’t say anything, he was the type of guy that wouldn’t do or say anything until he was ready.  After a few moments of pleasantries and tension he said, “We really need to talk.”  I instantly realized that he was breaking up with me.  He then said, “I haven’t been truly honest with you,” at this point I’m thinking its another girlfriend, hell - maybe two.  He hung his head slightly and said, “I’m married.” I felt like I  had gotten a swift kick to the gut and was slowly losing consciousness.  In and out of disbelief I heard “four years” and “followed me” after that I somehow pieced it together.  I said nothing, I don’t know if it was the left over leftovers or the latest news but I was instantly nauseated, I made a hasty retreat to the bathroom and promptly threw up.  Once I got back to the den in my calmest voice, I asked him to leave.  I said nothing else to him but he kept talking, I could see his lips moving but the words sounded as if they were being played against the backdrop of violent rushing waves.

As I closed the door behind him I felt extremely angry. Anger that led to silent tears streaming down my face. I felt betrayed but beyond my feeling of betrayal was the feeling of stupidity.  How could I not have seen it? What signs did I ignore? I felt stupid because of all the possible scenarios I concocted for Darren’s lack of commitment; I never imagined it was because he was already committed to someone else. Along with these thoughts was also the thought of calling one of my girlfriends. I opted not to, knowing them; I would probably end up running him over with my car.  Over the years I have come to realize that my girlfriends have tendency to make relationship problems seem worst than they are.  For just this reason I always tried to get a handle on things before I spoke to any of them.

My watch beeped 11 p.m. and I was scared because I knew it would probably be 3 a.m. before I fell asleep.  My meeting was at 9 a.m. the next morning and I had no intention of being late for the meeting or being tired during.  I decided to take a bath, I had taken a shower earlier, but a bath would definitely calm me down some. I ran a bubble bath and added jasmine and lavender essential oils to enhance the relaxation; I was hoping it would help put me to sleep.  I soaked in the tub for about half an hour then I got out and got into bed.  I tried really hard to focus on what I was going to say to the interview panel and even harder to put Darren out of my head.  I had one interview with this firm before and this was the second and decisive interview. I had to walk in with my game face on, and live up to the fantastic recommendations I had gotten.

Yes - I did great in the interview and ‘unofficially’ I had gotten the job.  For some reason I wasn’t feeling as happy as I thought I’d be.  It may have been Darren’s news coupled with the fact that I now know that I cared for him more than I realized.   Over the next few days I was feeling tired for no reason.  I wasn’t eating as much and I was hyper emotional.

As I sat in the doctors office waiting to get the results of my blood test I realized that I may have to face the real music. I have to face the fact that the most important job of my life will not include an interview; it will not include portfolios or paychecks and I most certainly won’t need any referrals or recommendations.    It included another person’s life.  An innocent person, who despite the circumstances under which we were to meet, would require unconditional love and support.  I also had to face the possibility of being the mother of a child with a commitment phobic ‘committed’ father.

Posted on December 10, 2013 .