If you’ve landed on the story now, please do check out the previous parts of it, to know about Sandra and John!
The story now. . . .
As everyone had settled in their seats and their attention was away from me, I quietly got up from my seat. I needed answers and I was determined to have them now. As each day had passed, I had hoped that things would get better. But now it was beyond my level of patience.
As I stepped forward, I took a deep breath, unaware of what lay ahead of me.
John sat there, the phone cradled on his shoulder and he just fumbling Yes… Yes.. Yes.
Keep the phone down John! I said stiffly.
He looked at my face. Shocked.
I would know if there was really someone on the other side, I reminded him.
I looked into his eyes.
What was it, that his eyes kept asking me? What was it that he wanted me to tell him?
Our eyes met, engrossed in a silent conversation.
He slowly looked down and placed the handpiece down, breaking the communication link which our eyes had established.
Yes Sandra? he asked, his eyes on me, but not telling anything anymore.
What’s wrong John? I asked, my voice quivering with emotions.
What’s wrong? Nothing’s wrong! Everything is fine Sandra! he said in a flat voice.
No! Nothing’s fine, I said aloud, angered by his behavior.
Look at yourself, John! Do you look fine? I asked him, my voice thundering in the room.
He slowly looked away at the window.
I guess I got too busy with the details and plan for the tie up, he said in a casual manner rubbing his fingers on his chin.
Look at me and speak John, I hissed with annoyance.
His eyes moved to mine and suddenly I felt as though I had never seen those eyes. They were like some stranger’s, staring back at me. Unattached, uncaring.
I walked towards him, with his big brown ebony table lying between us. I rested my palms on it, bending towards him. The closer I moved to him, the clearer I saw.
He was lying outright. He wasn’t fine. Not at all.
John. Please. Tell me what’s wrong? I asked softly.
Nothing’s wrong Sandra. We got a lot to plan so I want to decide on the details before the meeting, he said, sounding like the cold and unattached boss of the company.
I need to work much harder now. Need to make the company get bigger and bigger.
John, something is wrong here. Something between us, I stated, sad that not only was he avoiding talking about it, he wasn’t realizing and accepting that something was wrong.
Between us? What is wrong? He stopped.
What is there between us? he continued in a stern voice.
There’s nothing? I asked, still not able to accept that this man, whom I had feelings for, couldn’t understand me or my feelings.
He stood up and walked towards the window, which he was staring at, some time back.
There’s nothing, John? I repeated in a broken voice. It took all the energy out of me to ask that to him again.
Silence lay between us. He had to answer me.
By the way, I think you could handle the guest list, he said with his back still towards the window.
You know all the contacts which are important for the company and some one big and special seems to be your silent admirer! He remarked, sarcasm hitting me as a blow, hard and tearing me apart.
So, this…this coldness and avoidance is because of that! Some one sends me a painting, which I never asked for and I have to suffer. What is so disturbing about it John that you haven’t spoken to me since that day? You didn’t even tell me about this big deal! I spoke trying to stop my voice from shaking.
Am I supposed to tell you everything? Am I answerable to you Sandra? He questioned in a voice that sucked the air out of my lungs.
Do you forget, that YOU are my secretary! His voice echoed in the room and in my ears.
Reality struck me hard. Like a lighning. No love, but not even a friend? What did I mean to him then?
I had been foolish to think it was because of the painting. He was so dedicated to his job, that I was nothing for him, this fact shined in front of my eyes, while I stared at his back.
My lips moved. Uncontrollably and started sputtering words.
Is this what I get….for being in….. I stopped myself just in time and a silent tear fell from my eye.
He didn’t even turn to look at me. No word came off our lips. The silence in that moment struck my heart with the sword of rejection. I was nothing. It was my own thought and belief that I was special for him. How wrong I had been, all this time!
I silently walked away, towards the door. Clutching the pieces of my heart, which had just been sliced, I held the door. I wiped the tears off my face, took a deep breath and stepped out of the room. Not a word he uttered. He didn’t care. This was evident now!
I walked back to my place. Everything seemed to be hazy around me. Everyone was excited for the meeting and the responsibilities they would be entrusted with. While my heart ached with the thought of sitting and seeing John again. I sat there silent till John left the office for a meeting and lunch with the client. He said it aloud as he left, not to me as he always did. A weak smile came upon my face, when I realized how minute was my existence in his life. My presence didn’t matter.
I opened my mail box, and clicked on Compose. I didn’t even think much, while I typed on.
I left my name at the end, and with a heavy sigh, I clicked on send. The mail was sent.
I picked up my bag and straightened up my skirt. I wasn’t a messy person, so all the things I used were in their right place. I kept the company ID card and the keys of the filing section in the top most drawer.
I stood though my legs felt like jelly. They seemed too weak to carry my heavy heart. I slowly looked at John’s office, my first job, my first office and my first love. This place had a lot of firsts for me.
I walked out of the door of the office. As I took the turn at the corner of the road, away from the office building, my tears came flooding. It wasn’t possible for me to control them. They kept streaming my face as I kept walking away. No word, no cry, just salty water falling on my skin and moving across to my chin. I wiped them away with the back of my hands.
Standing at the signal waiting for the pedestrian sign to flash at the crossroad, my heart craved to have just one last glance at John, but I knew it wasn’t going to happen anymore. I had been foolish to think that one day, he may realize my feelings for him.
I knew people would think I was mad to leave office like that. Irrational and immature to walk off because I was stupidly in love with my boss while he didn’t even think to share such a big news with me, at least as a friend. If I wasn’t worth sharing a professional achievement then what was my place in his life?
My brain said it loud and clear. You mean nothing! You’re worth nothing! You are nothing for him.
It may sound crazy or foolishness but I couldn’t think of being there and see him everyday. Pretend there was nothing in my heart for him. I couldn’t act unaffected when being unworthy in his eyes meant pain to me, my heart.
By the time he would see the mail I had sent, I’d be home. Probably in my room. No more with him. The more I thought of being away from him, the more it crushed my heart.
Opening the door of the house, I ran into my bedroom. I threw myself on the bed and cried. I cried and wished the feelings and pain would flush out of me, like those tears expelled from my eyes.
Mother never came in rushing whenever I would cry. She gave me some time to let the emotions run out. After nearly an hour passed, she walked into my room, with two cups of hot piping coffee. She kept them at the table near my bed and sat beside my head.
I crawled and placed my head on her lap. She passed her soft and loving fingers through my hair. Mom’s fingers had magic. All mothers have it. They calmed my mind and my cry turned to whimpers.
What happened Sandra? she asked worried about my state, Did John say something?
Mom knew my feelings for John. I couldn’t hide it from her, ’cause whenever I tried to do so, she would try to hook me up with some guy she knew. So I had to tell her. She was the only person who knew my secret!
That’s the whole problem, Mom! I cried.
Sit up girl! She said patting my cheek.
I slowly got up and sat with my head low. She handed me the cup of coffee and said, Let’s hear it out now!
I told her everything. From the time we met Martin, the painting and John’s behavior, concluding with the big news about the company.
I agree Sandra, it must have sent you in a shock when suddenly his attention was on work. Maybe he felt apprehensive to share his plans, fearing some sabotage, she sided with him.
Mom! You don’t know how he spoke to me. I am nothing for him. Though he means the world to me. You know that!! I said in a faltering voice.
I know it dear! But does he? Mom asked.
He doesn’t and now he never will! I said with determination.
What do you mean? Mother asked confused.
I mailed him my resignation letter! I announced, ready to listen to mother lecture about my madness, work ethics and professionalism.
Her eyes widened and she questioned, You did what?
I resigned Mom! I shouted and fell back on the pillows.
And the pain returned back, with the pieces of my broken heart, piercing my soul.
Finally it was crystal clear, John didn’t love me!
(P.S. Seems to be getting longer. Will try to end it sooner! 😯) 😅😅