This story is by Jess MacDougall and was part of our 2022 Spring Writing Contest. You can find all the writing contest stories here.
The sun was peeking through the window coverings, I rolled over and looked at my clock, it read 5:00am, although my favorite part of the morning, I had no desire to get up, to face the day, to do anything really. It was always the same, heart racing, sweating like a college football player in the 4th quarter. Why me, why ME? I yelled. I peeled myself out of bed and headed to the bathroom. I could smell the coffee brewing while I stared at myself in the mirror. I knew I had to do something, I couldn’t possibly continue on this horrid path. I jumped in the shower washing all the feelings down the drain.
I went through my closet looking for something different to wear to work, when suddenly it came to me, I needed to become her. What would she wear to work? I asked myself. Something with a statement “Bold, strong, extraordinary” I continued to sip my coffee as I went through my closet searching for something that would fit this description. I could hear the birds chirping outside like a spring prelude. I had the perfect ensemble and it all came together. I finished my hair and makeup, got dressed and finished it off with a nice pair of heels. I was way out of my comfort zone, but it felt good. I wonder, is this how she feels every morning?
I gathered my things and headed out the door. The sky was clear, the roads were busy, lined with vehicles of all kinds, the air filled with the cherry blossoms that were almost in full bloom and spring was in the air. It always felt like a fresh start, but wasn’t every morning? I walked down the street hitting up the coffee cart outside of my office, “Miss what can I get for you?” Medium with one cream please, as he handed it to me I caught another glimpse of myself in the reflection of the building, I felt good.
“Gabriel, I need these copied, tabbed and on my desk by ten O’clock” I asked, setting a stack of files on his desk as I continued to my office. “Quinn!” I steadied myself as I set my coffee down on my desk. “Evelyn, how nice to see you, what can I do for you?” Evelynn, a coworker of mine who seemed to always lurking around and in the know about everything that was going on in the office along with everyone. She made my skin crawl, there was just something about her that made me beyond uncomfortable, but that feeling was absent as she carried on.
“Nice to see you as well. Now Quinn, did you hear about the new owners of Oak?”
“I have…” I couldn’t even get the words out of my mouth before she started in. “They’re very eager to get started and we need every file, document, and contract completed and ready for their review by 10:30am, did you want me to look them over?”
“I appreciate that Evelynn, and I do have everything ready for review, but again thank you.” I just wanted her to leave my office, let me be.
“If you say so Quinn, best of luck” she said with that grin on her face. I could finally breathe.
“There is something different about her today, but I can’t pinpoint it.” Evlynn said to Gabriel. “I have to agree with you there, Evelynn,” Gabriel said with a big smile. I have to get this work done, we will see you later on i’m sure”
“Quinn here are all the documents for OAK, the conference room is set up and everything is ready to go, they should be here within 15 minutes.” This is great Gabriel, thank you again.
I headed over to the conference room to make sure everything was in order and ready for when they got here. I was about to walk into the conference room and I could hear Evelynn talking. Why is she in there? Suddenly I felt irritated, my heart racing and the sweat ready to pour out. “What would she do?” I asked myself, no time to think, I walked right in.
Oliver and Brady stood up buttoning their jackets. “Quinn, so nice to meet you” as they extended their hand out. “The pleasure is all mine, shall we begin?” I looked over at Evelynn. She quickly stood up and scurried out of the room. I couldn’t help but notice the relief on Oliver and Brady’s face as she left. Why the sudden interest in my clients, I thought to myself.
We got all the details ironed out and contracts signed. “Thank you again for coming in today, i will have everything sent over to your office and we can begin next week!
I got back to my office and sat down, what happened to me? Feeling that annoyed by Evlynn would have sent me into a downward spiral ruining the rest of my day, I didn’t understand why she had so much interest in my work, and the need to linger around but it didn’t, maybe it was the outfit?
I got home just in time to tune in to my favorite sitcom but I just wasn’t feeling it tonight, I found myself going through my closet putting together different outfits, paired with accessories and shoes. I took a step back admiring my work, these outfits were everything I had thought earlier, bold, strong, extraordinary.
The weeks flew by, and the feelings of being a football player seemed less and less. I on-boarded Oak with ease, Oliver and Brady were quite pleased with the smooth transition. It felt so good to be exactly where I was, when just a few weeks ago I didn’t even want to leave my bed. Suddenly there was a knock on the door. “Hi Quinn, could I speak with you if you have a minute?” Evelynn took a seat at my corner chair, she seemed nervous… What can I do for you Evelynn? I asked. “I wanted to congratulate you on the work you did with Oak, I don’t think I have seen clients as happy as Oliver and Brady, you did great!” There was some hesitation in her voice as she spoke. “I also wanted to comment on the energy you have brought to the team, these last few months I was quite worried about you and I must admit lurking around and being at every corner likely didn’t help that, with that said I wanted to apologize.” Thank you Evelynn, that’s so kind of you. I said. She stood up and smiled, as she left my office.
As I was finishing my day, the emails started to come in, as did the feeling of panic, a quarterback sack would explain it perfectly. I put my head in my hands about to burst when suddenly I stopped dead in my tracks and one at a time I went through each email. Responding accordingly, fixing what needed to be fixed, and preparing everything for tomorrow. I was about to pick up the phone when I saw Gabriel walk by, “Gabe, could you come in here a minute” I asked. He plunked down in front of my desk with a big smile on his face. What are you up to? I asked. “Quinn the office is buzzing about you, I don’t know what you have done, but you are simply extraordinary. The work you have done with the last three clients has been nothing short of amazing!”
I appreciate that Gabriel, thank you so much. I said to him.
The elevator dinged and I got off, not paying any attention I walked right into Oliver. He looked up at me and smiled. “Quinn, fancy meeting you here.” I giggled, I am just heading out for the night, actually to watch the football game. “I would never have guessed you being a football fan, could I join you?” Of course I replied, but only if you’re a 49ers fan. “Now you really have my attention.”
The night went by so fast, yet slow at the same time, almost like time stood still. “I will see you bright and early for our meeting. Thanks again Quinn” After saying goodnight I made my way home, replaying my day in my mind as the uber driver pulled up to my apartment.
I opened the door, kicked my heels off and grabbed sparkling water out of the fridge. I made my way to my closet. I sat on the ground and grabbed my journal. Opening to a crisp new sheet I started writing. I thought my life would be over that first day I had a panic attack, with one thought in my mind “what would she do” I finished with “I am her”, something my Mom always told me, why wait for things to be great, act like her now and see where life takes you my dear.
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