Morning saw me driving late to work today. My daughter was sick with a bad case of food poisoning and I was up with her last night. And she didn’t go to school today, feeling nauseous.
I had just settled in at my table, and started reading through my e-mails when I found a very familiar number ringing on my very-muted-phone. It was a dreaded number and one which I was very familiar with. It brought back familiar memories and very bad ones at that.
The number was from the Secretary of the department where I worked before. She and I were not on the best of terms to say the least. Many were the sleepless nights I spent in that department, wondering what this dreaded phone call would bring for me the next day. Would it be an order to do something I didn’t want to do or would it be a threat ? Would it be a bully phone call ? Would it bring me another insult to add to the manifold insults I had been subjected to, over the years’ ? These and many other thoughts ravaged my sickly mind, while i was working at the other place.
Today I am a free bird. No more does the fear of this phone number haunt me. I can sleep a pleasant restful sleep, through most of the night- I have no nightmares.
Then why did this familiar number resonate in my new office ? Had this person traced me out ? Had I to come out of my hiding ? Had I been traced out ?
I have written before about my extreme fear of meeting my colleagues from previous workplace at shopping malls or conferences. The same fear took hold of me this morning. Fortunately, the call went on to a missed call, after one ring. Nevertheless it was a call and it was from the Secretary.
A few moments later, I got a call from my husband saying that the same secretary had called him on his cell phone from her cell phone. As he was busy with a patient, he could not answer her call. He knew of my trepidation and wanted to tell me that he had had a call from her. But he knew not why ?
Needless to say, the entire morning was spent speculating on why she might have called.
A couple of hours later, I had a call from my sick daughter saying that this lady had called our home and she wanted to know where I was working. My daughter told her she was sick and staying at home, so the Secretary did not follow up with that line of questioning.
I reached home soon after, having taking a half day off.
I decided that enough was enough and i had to deal with my demons or my demons would end up eating me up. So taking the bull by the horns, I called her. My tone was not cordial, I must confess. I asked her, what she wanted. She said she saw that i had joined a new place and wanted to verify if her sources were correct. Skillfully i directed the conversation away from the topic of my job and its perks and everything else a curious person might want to know, into my previous job space and asked about previous colleagues. I had become quite a turner of the conversation. I surprised myself. We parted on pretty cordial terms.
The gist of the matter is sometimes, when our worst fears come in front of us, the best thing would be to take them headlong and maybe, the fearful monster might not be fearful any more.