Thursday, September 30, 2010

#FridayFlash 51: The Call


I stared at my phone, willing it to ring. And obligingly it did -- but it was just Amy texting me to see if I wanted to meet her for lunch. I fired off a brief message, hands shaking. Wondering if I'd be any sort of company for her that day; knowing she'd forgive me if I wasn't.

The job of a lifetime; a cumulation of years of work and study and scrapping my way up from the know-nothing errand kid. And it was within reach -- they told me I'd find out today.

When I was in highschool my girlfriends waiting anxiously for the phone for some boy to call, and I never entirely respected them for it. If I wanted to talk to some boy, I called him; this was pretty much a non-issue in my world. I'd never before been subject to the power of a silent phone. But now I got it -- the balance between hope they'd call and fear they wouldn't and the wicked emotional shifts that entailed. Only in my case, I knew they'd call, but what worried me was what they'd say. The other candidate was as qualified as I; the job would be based on those intangibles. Who's a "good fit" for the company? Who do they like better? Who'll look best representing them in front of the cameras? I was not a girly-girl, but I definitely took my time preparing for that interview!

The phone buzzed and my heart leapt. And then hope faded as I saw the text icon. "Any news yet?" -- the sender deserved to be shot. It's a shame; he was a good friend till that moment.

My heart settled back to its normal rhythm as I stared at the screen I'd already read eight times that morning and still had not registered, my mind full of those two powerful words: "what if".

I knew I was being ridiculous -- either it would happen or it wouldn't, but nothing I could do at this point would influence it so I may as well be productive. Sadly logic lost the war to emotion, and I continued to stare blankly at my screen, with occasional glances at my phone. My hands were cold, and I could hear my heart pounding. It didn't even usually do that on a 5k run. I looked around at my co-workers -- did any of them notice something was not-quite-right? For all of them, it was just another day. But for me, it might be THE day. But I wouldn't know until they called.

I sat, as the seconds past like hours. Every once in a while moving the mouse so my screen would stay lit. Always thinking of what could be... And what might not.

The phone buzzed again; a quick look at the screen showed a number I hoped would one day be mine. My hands shook and I nearly dropped the phone as I tried to answer it, but I was proud that my voice came out calmly and professionally,

"Good afternoon, Sarah speaking."

4 comments:

John Wiswell said...

Having to talk to people about the on-going job search (and equally tiring publication search) is one of my least favorite parts of the process. Good luck to Sarah here.

Steve Green said...

Very descriptive and true-to-life telling of the angst of uncertainty, and it's over-riding importance.

placebythefire said...

Well written, you captured the tension very well. I especially liked the bit with the friend who deserved to be shot for texting on That Day.

Rebecca Emin said...

This brought back memories of post-interview waits and also, I admit, the teenage agony of waiting for some boy or other to call! You sum it up really well, especially when the friends get in contact and raise her hopes only for them to crash down again.

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