Bella

This can’t be happening, not to me, not to me

By Riverine Herald

Everything had been going so well, even the whirlwind courtship and that so unexpected ‘I will’ when the question was popped. Which of course had demanded a celebratory escape to somewhere full of the A crowd, Bora Bora perhaps. But that all vanished in a split second on the first day back in the office

SO MY WHOLE world has been turned upside down, inside out, and it’s all out of control.

Worst of all, it’s out of my control.

When I innocently went on my annual holiday to yet another suitably glamorous location (with you know who) I left the team with gentle, but firm, instructions on what not to do in my absence.

But I simply don’t recognise anyone here.

My last afternoon in the office was all about cups of tea, petit cakes, chocolates, assorted other treats and that sweet, sugary sensation.

Now it has all been swept away.

God help me but it’s true.

Even the girl who sits beside me, the only one who has cracked the glass ceiling (she turned 40 last year) changed into running gear this afternoon and headed out the door after a few stretches and hit the road.

I was agog.

And aghast.

The deputy editor, who I would have trusted with the key to my secret Swiss chocolate stash, turned up all sweaty and tousled this morning and in breathless anticipation I had rolled my chair around the corner of her desk to hear the salacious details.

I could not believe what I was hearing. She had come straight to the office from the gym.

Not from Jim.

From the gym gym. The one where women don’t perspire, where they sweat.

I looked at my watch, checked the clock on the wall and then my phone.

All were in alignment; it was just 8.30 in the am.

If she had been to the gym she must have been mobile by 6 am.

Doesn’t she know there is a law against that?

Six am.

I started to shake, just ever so slightly, and could do nothing to stop it.

I wanted to grab her and demand to know who she was, and what had she done with my friend.

The whole thing was insane, I knew I was going to wake up in a minute and discover it had all been a crazy dream.

But the morning ground on and I was still trapped in this netherworld, with every passing minute more and more desperate for it to end. I even pinched myself, twice, and apart from guaranteeing a bruise on my upper arm got nothing for the effort.

You probably won’t believe this, I know I can’t, but when lunch came around no-one wanted to go down to the wine bar for a leisurely 90 minutes or so.

No, everyone had brought some kind of icky healthy repast and they all trooped to the lunchroom — I didn’t even know we had one — to discuss their resting pulse rates, their weight, training tips and whether they were running or riding home (on bikes, not in taxis).

And they all seemed so pleased with themselves, indulging in those juvenile fist bumps and high fives.

I could not join them; I could barely stand looking at them let alone continue talking to them.

Over-the-counter medication was not going to calm me down here.

My eyes must have been taking on a slightly crazed look because the receptionist was backing up as I stormed towards her.

“Tell me,” I pleaded. “This is a dream isn’t it?

“None of us are really here, are we?”

She kept backing away (and was glancing left and right for something heavy in case she had to defend herself) and with her arms outstretched was suggesting that perhaps I might like to sit down, I seemed a little overwrought.

I could not remember this child’s name, why would I, she was just the receptionist, my beck and call girl.

And I was starting to call her names I normally wouldn’t.

“What do you know about all this exercise, and diet changes?” I demanded.

But she just kept stammering, and was now backed up against the wall, with nowhere to go as I hissed at her.

“Maybe,” she said, “you are a bit jetlagged.

“Why don’t you go home for the afternoon and have a nap?”

That was the final straw. Here was this emptyheaded nonentity trying to calm me as if I was going into palliative care.

“Or it might help if you joined the girls after work, we are training for a fun run next week and you might want to join us,” she proffered.

“Did you say a fun run?” I all but screeched.

“Yes,” she smiled, thinking she must be getting through to me.

“We have even,” she added, “put your name down in case you wanted to join us.”

That’s when I fainted. 