All of us, at one time in our lives feel like giving up on everything and just moving on. I am sure most of us had one of those days when everything goes wrong, when we feel so lonely that deep inside we wish we were somewhere else, doing something else, and saying something else.
Angie had one of those days today. She had been on vacation for the last two weeks and when this morning, she finally managed to pull herself together, convinced herself to walk to the office, and to finally go into the “work mode,” she found herself dreaming of sunshine, flowers, trees and life. Her first few hours alone underground were what she had expected. The following hours were frustrating, depressing and depleting.
On her way back from her lunch break, she ran into a colleague who has been at the BUH for the last 27 years. He thought that he was funny when he wanted to say “happy Easter,” and then when he asked her about her sect. He must have considered himself hilarious when he tried to remember but to no avail the famous expression: “better late than never.” He then stated that he hadn’t seen her in a while and that he therefore had thought that she had left the institution. When she tried to explain that she had been on a vacation for the last two weeks, he inquired whether she had been abroad or in the country. And she found herself telling this stranger that she had been around between BUH and her home village. So he made that stupid remark that she is like him and that she likes to stay around and not travel abroad. He must have thought himself to be really funny when he said that. She tried telling him that she wanted to travel but that she has other plans and that she prefers to think about her future for the time being. But every attempt was useless, as if her words were flying into the wind. He asked her about her work, and again she found herself in an interrogatory where all her energy was being depleted. She tried explaining that her work was fine. And suddenly she found herself listening to this guy telling her that her current job isn’t what she has been looking for, yelling at her for even trying to apply for the position of “photographer” and wondering loudly what on earth she knew about photography. He kept telling her that the vacancy of photographer that she had applied for a few weeks ago, was already filled before it had been advertised for. He emphasized that it was a man’s job and that they were looking for a male to fill this position because the 5 persons who held this position over the last 15 years were all men. He kept wondering what she knew about photography and why she wanted to be in such a demanding position where she would have to cover events in evenings and on weekends. When she tried telling him that she had a passion for photography, he looked at her utterly surprised and he kept stressing and repeating that she is being stubborn and that she wasn’t born for this job. He told her that she is a young woman who will end up being married and therefore catering for her kids, and such a job would be demanding and that he believes that she’d better spend her weekends with her kids. He stated clearly that this job would suit perfectly well a man. She asked him what legacy he wanted to leave behind in a few years when he retired. He looked at her as if she was coming from Mars and didn’t know what to answer. She thought to herself that he probably didn’t understand her question, so she asked him about the statue that the institution will erect in his honor once he retires. She asked him how he wanted to look at the years he spent working, what feelings he wanted to attach to his days, what stories he wanted to take from all these days and years. He still seemed astounded and reiterated that he has been for years in his job and that he is comfortable to the point that he doesn’t wish to leave or to make any changes. He also mentioned that when the time of promotion comes, others get promoted although he deserves promotion more than any other in his department.
He kept reiterating that photography is a big mistake. Something she can’t handle. Something that isn’t done just for fun. He said that photography isn’t sitting around and taking shots of birds but that it was a real job where people call to ask bluntly a photographer to cover an event and to take pictures. He made it sound so ugly that Angie wanted to disappear. And while he was still repeating and reiterating how stubborn she is and how useless photography would be to her, she heard herself snapping: “thanks God, you are not my father.” He was again thunderstruck. Angie felt her legs walking her away from this man. She simply turned her back and went back to her office underground. In the background, the look on his face, the sound of his voice still echo, but all that is just a memory, a distant forgotten memory that hopefully Angie wouldn’t hang on to or use it to make walls around her dreams or in her mind.
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