Rewind

We are all back at the company where we worked. Almost all the key players are there… the people who left before me, the people who left after me, and some of those who remain behind.

He is running the show again, and has popped over to our department as he sometimes did back in the days when we reported to him.

He talks to me briefly. Just as during that first time when he joined our team for lunch, he says something that gets me thinking so hard about it that I miss whatever follows it, too far down the rabbit hole to extract myself.

And then something strange happens.

He lets G- go.

Not a call into an HR office, but neither a scene of angry shouting. Simply, clearly, calmly. Somehow I am not surprised, as if I have known he has wanted to do this. Her reaction is no doubt emotional, but I don’t see or hear it.

He is letting E- go too. This surprises me. Again, he is calm, not unkind, but clear. Like me, she is a fan of the man. Surely she will take this badly.

I don’t see or hear that either. I know that it’s high drama in our area, but I don’t seem to be registering much, as if I am still so wrapped up in the idea he planted in my head before that nothing else is real.

Something has happened… is happening… and I don’t understand it.

He walks away, back to his side of the building. As he does, he says something completely unrelated, like that he’s going to take a shower. I don’t know what to do with that knowledge, but it doesn’t strike me as unduly odd that he’d announce it to us all.

In a little while, I walk over to his space. His office isn’t his office – there’s no second floor; the area through the glass doors to the right of the lobby seems to have been converted to an apartment-like area for him. He’s there, sprawled in front of a large TV. It’s not facing me but it’s blaring, from what I gather, a sporting event. Basketball, I reason, though I don’t know it with certainty. It’s so loud I can’t hear myself think. Behind him, steam from a shower is pouring out from what I take to be the bathroom area, as if he started the shower and then forgot about it. He hasn’t changed clothes but I realize he’s in jeans. I’ve never actually seen him in jeans, but it doesn’t particularly strike me as strange… other than to register that this is not his usual workwear.

I also register the ways that he looks different than reality. Again, this does not seem to faze me.

Though I have invaded his space, he’s focused on the game and barely acknowledges my arrival at first. Then he glances at me, asks how I’m doing. I gesture to my ears, shake my head, indicating I can’t hear anything over the din. I say it twice before he gets it to a level I can talk to him over. He doesn’t turn it off, but after that I can converse with him as if he had.

He asks me again how things are, and I tell him it’s a bit stressed, as he can imagine, at our end of things. I tell him I was surprised about E. He says something about her having left and come back – I know that she’d left the company once and then returned some time later, though it predates my arrival by years – and you just can’t do that.

I sit down, near his extended legs, just getting comfortable, and rest one hand on his shin as I talk to him. I’m troubled by his statement. I am thinking that it smacks of retaliation, and I don’t know that he can do that. I am thinking how shocked I am that he feels so strongly about it – strongly enough to take this action in any case – when it was so long ago and she’s been such an asset to the department. I am thinking that such apparent vengefulness seems out of character, and how odd it is that he doesn’t seem angry even though his actions imply that he is.

But I say little to none of this, because I have also realized suddenly that I am touching him… Although it’s not suggestive at all in its meaning, I am being incredibly casual with a person I barely know and am actually touching him, and how utterly inappropriate that is. How offended he might be.

He hasn’t responded in any way to my gesture, but I take my hand away and apologize. Again, he doesn’t react either way. Somehow, I want him to. Though I can’t put my finger on in what way.

We continue to talk, I comment something about the fact that he hasn’t taken that shower. Again, it’s an odd thing to say but for some reason neither of us seems to see it as such. The conversation is short, to the point, but not stilted.

I suppose I am interrupting him.
He’s not rushing me out and I don’t feel as if I’m totally unwelcome.
Neither do I get the sense that I’m especially wanted here.

I don’t really know how to feel about it, or how to read his perspective.

I start to realize that I was so disconnected when he spoke to me earlier that I didn’t hear the rest of what he’d said to me. I begin to wonder what I missed… Whether I’ve been dismissed too, and just don’t know it… And how does one even go about finding out without just coming out and saying so.

Does he think I’ve come here to change his mind?

I’m confused at the thought, but more bothered by the awkwardness of a potential misunderstanding than at the possibility of unemployment. If that’s what’s happened, I want to tell him that it’s all right, I’ll be fine. No harm, no foul.

But I don’t know what he said to me, so I don’t know what to say to him, though it feels as if something should be said.

As wakefulness starts to invade the experience I hear myself try to reason that if he let me go, surely I would know it. That’s not something I would miss…

When I come fully awake, it immediately strikes me how funny that thought is.

When I come fully awake, I realize how many of the interactions in the dream were based on some snippet of past reality or recent thought… the aspects related to him and the many related to others… recognizable though jumbled and mixed into dream imagery.

When I come fully awake, I realize, appropos of nothing, that it didn’t even occur to me that maybe there was someone else in the shower.

When I come fully awake, I realize that I’ve dreamed about him again – and that I’m thinking too much about it – and that neither one is a very good sign for my mental state.

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~ by lorakceel on April 19, 2012.

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