“Deep breaths. You got this,” she thought to herself.
“Robin Wood?” Called the secretary.
This was the fourth interview she had been to this month.
“Big smile. Shake hands. Cross your ankles. Does my hair look OK? Did I spray too much perfume on myself? Gosh I hope they like me,” she kept repeating in her head.
The secretary lead Robin through a hallway and into an office. This was it. The moment of truth. Robin nervously walked in and closed the door behind her. As quick as it started, it was over. 20 minutes. That’s all they needed. “Geez that was fast,” thought Robin. She let out a big sigh of relief as she walked out past the sliding doors. It was an old building that had this smell to it, and she couldn’t quite pinpoint it. It was familiar, but it wasn’t something that brought back a particular memory. It kind of reminded her of one of her classrooms. She had been working on a Botany degree for the past three years, taking classes at night, and every time she passed through the art building she would hear that God-awful video. The cheesy one that played on a loop with the not so good at acting journalism professor—“Buckwood Community College! Home of the Ducks! Sign up for classes today!” Botany wasn’t a degree a lot of people pursued, but that was her passion. She loved it and she was good at it. She knew she could make some sort of career out of it.
As she walked out into the cold parking lot after her interview, it happened. Tall, dark, handsome. Everything the movies said it would be. Their eyes met, and they smiled at each other. That was the first encounter. That was the moment that would change everything.
Her heart fluttered a little and she blushed the lightest shade of rose, thinking of that smile she just got from him. She finally made it to her car. A half mile walk. “Ugh! Why do they make you walk so far when you’re wearing heels?” she asked out loud to herself while turning the key in her ignition before making her way home.
30 minutes later, she pulled into her driveway and rested her head on the steering wheel for a bit. She was exhausted. She had been working 50 hour weeks, attending school at night, taking care of her sick grandmother, all the while dealing with the pressure that came with having a long-term boyfriend. She let out a huge sigh, picked her head back up, got out of her car, and walked into her home. She took off her heels as she walked over to her bedroom. “FINALLY!” she thought with annoyance in her head.
She laid on her bed thinking about her interview. Secretly, she hated the idea of working for a company like that, but she knew that’s what she needed to do. 50 hour work weeks between two jobs was taking its toll on her. Her eyes had dark circles embedded under them. They looked tired. The bags underneath them were swollen and it looked like she was always crying, even though it was just the 5:00 AM daily wake up call that came from her alarm clock. She was a mess—figuratively and literally. She couldn’t do it anymore. She wanted a better life. She wanted to be where her passion was—in nature, among the plants. Being outside with the sun hitting her skin was her world. She lived for the excitement of the changing seasons.
“If I work for a company like that, will I really be happy? Do I really want to sit in an office all day answering phones?” Robin was torn. Secretary of the CFO. It sounded important, but she knew it really wasn’t. “I’m just going to be his mule. I’ll just be the one that gets shit for everything that goes wrong. Low man on the totem pole. THAT'S who I’ll be.” She shook her head and rolled over onto her side. She closed her eyes and imagined him. That scene got played over and over again in her head, but every time it was a little different. Each time he got a little closer to her. Each time the encounter was a little longer. Each time the chance of them touching felt more and more real. “Wow, Robin! You’re being SO desperate right now. God I miss Harvey! I wonder if he’s home yet.” She looked up on her nightstand to look at her old alarm clock. It was fading. 3:28 PM. The black around the cream-colored face was turning grey. It was an old clock, but she didn’t want to part with it; it held sentimental value to her. It was her grandfather’s and he had died what seemed like forever ago to her. It was his. He had it for as long as she could remember and that was the only thing she had that made her feel like he was still around. He would set his alarm every night to the same time: 5:21 AM. That gave him the chance to hit the snooze button once and still wake up at 5:30. Robin always thought it was silly, but that was grandpa. So routine. Everything was on a schedule with him.
She picked up her phone to call Harvey, but right when she did, it rang. “Incoming call from: Harvey Daniels.” It’s like he could read her mind sometimes. But I guess that’s what happens after eight years. High school sweethearts turned into flourishing adults. But it was different now. Robin had been feeling off. She wasn’t as excited to talk to him like she once was. Tonight, she even felt a little ashamed. She had just thought about this new man for a few moments and it excited her. She hadn’t thought of anyone in that light for a long time. Not since Harvey came into her life.
She contemplated answering the phone for a second. Robin loved Harvey, but lately it seemed he was too busy for her. Stockbroking was so demanding and it seemed like he was always working. He was always on the move. Robin sighed and reluctantly pressed the little green icon on her phone's screen. “Accept.”