'Is this all there is?' - Tessa Hill (Year 13)
“I’m just touching base about the report you’re working on.”
I stare at the stray hair trying so hard to escape her tight bun.
“It will have to be sent off Thursday morning so you’ll really have to hammer it out.”
Looking through the window to the street below I can see the street is filling with people in suits rushing to get food in their lunch break. Their faces scrunched against the wild wind.
“Have you got all this?”
The hair finally escapes and slips down in front of her eyes.
“Uhhh yes… got it.”
She quickly brushes her hair out of her face. “Good good, well we really want to make a dependable first impression. This is very important for the company, I hope you’re taking it seriously.”
Taking it seriously? Of course I’m taking it seriously. This is my job. Just like all those people outside, rushing to get back to work, I’m a dedicated employee.
“So I’m expecting 5-6 pages-”
My dedication has made me successful.
“-actually make that 7 pages.”
The hand on the clock ticks past 1. The bustle of the street dies down as people retreat back to their cages. Across the street I see each person sitting at their desks, fish in their tanks staring longingly at the outside world.
“Make sure to include the end-user perspective like we discussed in the meeting this morning. Are you following?”
“... mmhmm.” Even from up here I can see the resentment in the faces of the people in suits as they are enclosed again.
“I knew I could count on you!”
The clock ticks past 1:05. 3 hours and 55 minutes and then I’m free, I quickly calculate.
“Sorry to keep you but I’ve just remembered one more thing, the format must be the same as the previous report…”
“...okay,” I reply automatically. Free, I think to myself. Free free free. Why aren’t I free now? I could do anything.
“Donna you seem distracted!” Her sharp tone brings me back to reality.
“No no, I’m listening.”
“Come on. Focus.” she interjects. Another piece of hair falls over face. The clock moves in slow motion. I look past her tall figure to the courtyard below, it is almost completely empty. Why does it feel more full of life now that it’s empty? Now you can see the colour of the flowers, the rich red of the bricks contrasting against the green of the trees. There are no faceless black suits to cloak the scene with their dull energy. It’s almost as if a blanket has been lifted.
Janice checks her watch, carries on, then sweeps her loose strands of hair back into order.
Her voice slips into a monotonous drawl in the background of the picturesque scene. I can see the trees blowing in the wind and hear the sound of the wind as it whips past the window. Each leaf on the tree battles to stay connected. Fighting the wind, but going with the motion. Surely that is reality. Not this.