As I delve further into this story, I find I sleep less and less. When I do awaken, I find the sheets damp with sweat. All I know is that for today, things carry on as normal. I do not know about tomorrow.
You might be wondering why I didn’t pack in the job and run before letting this story loose online? It did cross my mind, and was almost tempting for a while, but the more I thought about it, the more I realised; wherever I went, He would find me. A man like Him would always find me. He is tenacious as steel. I am quiet, like snowdrops. That is why I keep my head down day after average day, fearing the unknown, and running the treadmill as though everything is ordinary.
On my first day at my first job, I was informed I would be working for one man: managing His records, sending His emails and attending certain functions to act as minute-taker. For the sake of needing a name, let us call this man Andrew. This bears no relation to his actual name.
On arrival, a large man directed me to a large, man’s office: His office. I was left at the closed door without a word or instruction.
There was one thing in particular that struck me about this specific Office door. I was under the impression that office doors (in these days where Health and Safety seems to overrule common sense), are supposed to contain a glass window for the protection of the workers; anything could happen in a room with the door closed and only the furniture as a witness. I thought it was a legal requirement, or some such thing, but his door was solid, completely solid. I considered, either this must be a power statement, or the man had something he needed to hide. This might have been my fifth warning signal.
I knocked the solid wood once, twice. The sound was almost entirely absorbed by its density. I didn’t matter how hard I knocked.
It did occur to me this might have been a test.
Ten or twelve people walked past, one laughing, “You’ve got the wrong office, trust me, you don’t want to go in there!” I was flustered, blushing into the ground I stood on. Flummoxed, I considered the solid door before me, wondering if they were right. How different would my life be today if I had just listened to my gut and walked away?
Standing hopelessly like, I was pulled out of my reveries by a co-worker. “It’s a door, love. You pull the handle and it opens.” Blood pounded to my cheeks for the second time that day. At this rate, the people here are going to think my face is a constant shade of flushed.
The heavy solid wooden door creaked shut behind me.
His office bellowed ‘authoritative bachelor’, in black and white and smart glass. It was central to the building, and spacious, with an area for tea and coffee-making, a smart sitting area of inward-facing settees, and a mini-fridge, but I wouldn’t use the word ‘comfortable’ to describe it. There was only one large glass desk, and only one computer. The computer had never been used, still boasting its newborn peel-able plastic coating. The only plant in the room was a money tree, with a sign ‘Money doesn’t grow on trees.’ I couldn’t decide if that meant he had a sense of humour, or not.
Somehow, although screaming minimalism, there was the incongruence of disorder: the haphazard papers left on the desk, the doodles on the note pad, the sticky-tac fashioned into a cat. (I was pleased he was a cat person; at least there would be one conversation starter. I am spectacularly bad at making small talk.) On the computer keyboard was an informal note with my name on it. It was unnerving to be written to by name by a man to whom I had not yet been introduced. It was probing, as though he knew me to my core when I hadn’t yet lain eyes on him. Had He been the ‘cough’ behind the one-way mirror at my interview?
The note was written in a flourishing, beautiful, affected script, perhaps better described as artwork, but it was not very effective as a communication tool as I could hardly decipher it. It did occur to me that this might also be a test. I couldn’t tell whether the thought of meeting Him made me curious or terrified.
My first task was to organise all his records. I cannot explain to what these records relate, but I can say that I had to sign something to say I would not repeat the content of them to anyone, which I feel is a pertinent detail. I had plenty of experience cataloguing data, and assumed this would be no different. I thought I would create a database for ease of access, key wording each entry. It was a slightly different story when I unlocked the filing cabinets and was flustered in an avalanche of type font number 7. There was more organisation to be found in beach pebbles. Various papers were stuffed in left, right and centre (okay, I embellish, but it would be any librarian’s nightmare, I am sure), I lost hope. This would take a long time. Andrew clearly disliked filing of any kind.
Before I left, I added a few more conversation starters from what I had learned about Him today—it helps me not to panic when meeting new people.
Still, I had not met Him.