All In The Mind
In that small singular windowed room the harsh afternoon sun blazed in, making the air as thick as it was warm. The door had closed with a bang, like the sealing of a coffin. My palms sweated though it was not due to the heat, my heart hammered in my ears and my throat was incredibly dry. Fear was dancing round my body with renewed energy. There was a table and chairs but I knew sitting down would give the wrong impression, yet I didn't even know who I was to speak to now after entering the building. A place I'd never been before, a place I'd never have thought I'd land myself. My mind fizzed with what would happen, would I make a fool of myself? Would I fail terribly in proving myself?
A snap made me look back to the door as it began to open. A small round man with quick eyes darted inside the room, looked me up and down before giving a brief smile. Then his thin lips asked my size to which I answered immediately - mainly wishing to be free of that penetrating stare. With a nod he left once again, slamming the door behind him. I fiddled with my shirt, the synthetic fabric scratching against my fingertips; it didn't fit. I supposed nobody's ever really fit properly. Were they meant to? I'd followed a friend in here, listened to her assurances and believed. How had I been such a fool? This wasn't me, this wasn't where I belonged surely? For all the money in the world I wouldn't want to be here, so why was I? Why did I take her word as gospel and believe it all to be some great scheme which could only lead to success? I know why, although I don't want to admit it to myself. I'm a fool.
For what seemed like forever this stretched on, a sticky silence in the baking heat. My heart only beating quicker, palms sweatier and throat drier. If asked any questions I would surely only croak like a toad, have to swallow, end up coughing harshly and look like some kind of drunken mad woman. Why was I here? The small round man appeared again, threw some garments my way and vanished once again. With hard swallows, desperately trying to regain my voice I put them on as though a shroud. A few moments later another head appeared - only this one wasn't frightening, instead it had kindly warm eyes and a simple smile. Perhaps that was how they tricked you? Why was I here? He entered and looked me up and down as the small man had. This man was tall, skinny and slightly balding. But his face was gentle.
I nodded sheepishly and he laughed at my shyness.
"No need to be nervous, everyone goes through this at some point or another." With another nod I followed him out the door and down a long corridor. Lit by fluorescent white beams the white plastic-covered walls shone like slick ice and a clinical blue lino squeaked beneath my shuffling feet. He was talking and I desperately tried to listen but couldn't take my busy mind off the next door we were heading to. Like a bottomless pit it glared back as we approached, a strong stench of cleaning chemicals swamping my nose as we passed by rows of hot lamps, other men in white overalls staring at me like fresh meat to carve. One man licked his lips I'm sure, but perhaps I was only being paranoid. I looked away, afraid to let my imagination go any further into terror's clutches. Through that door I would either be proved the strong soul I was, or a weak-minded fool easily led into things she surely could not handle. Standing before a row of large lamps I attempted to steady myself, going in with a stutter and quiver going through my bones would only surely show them all who I was, how nervous and inadequate. The lamps buzzed as they radiated ridiculous heat out to me, as if I weren't sweating enough for their liking.
Did he say that or did I think that? Either way the door was opened and I entered judgement's house. White tables glared back, silver sharp objects on each, ready to dissect my every move most likely.
The room was oblivious of me. Not a soul turned to look. They too wore suits and silk, and I confess I felt under dressed by that point. The thrum of conversation not breaking off at all upon my stumbling entrance, my legs not quite strong enough to hold me upright. Two cold glass bottles are pressed into my hand and an encouraging tap given to my shoulder before a slight push sent me out into the abyss. Faces stare as I approach with a courteous smile. White or red? Red or white? Some answered immediately, others debated, a few asked me which I thought best. Although very aware of my breathing, my posture and the fact my hands were both cramping in a painful way I felt more at ease with each moment. This wasn't so hard after all. How had I been such a fool to doubt? This was me down to a tee. I had my audience and I was playing my part perfectly, the spotlight swinging to and fro with me dancing in its glare. This was where I belonged surely? And from the expression on the tall skinny man's face in the corner I knew the answer.
"Excuse me? Waitress!"