“Have a seat, Naomi, we have a couple of projects to review.”
I plant myself in the conference room chair directly across from her, straightening my back and smiling like I would if I had a fucking clue what I was doing.
She continues. “First things, first: I want to tell you want a great job you’re doing. We’ve been very happy with the quality of your output. You’ve clearly been consulting for quite a while.”
Holy fuck, how about that. Jokes on her – it’s only been four months. Ha!
Don’t start, Jane. Don’t you fucking start.
What? I’m just acknowledging that she clearly thinks I’m more experienced than I am. That’s a compliment, right?
I know where you’re going with this. Just stop.
Oh come on, I’m not freaking out. It’s only been four months and she thinks I’m some kind of professional. Nothing wrong with that…right?
Nope, nothing wrong. Move on.
You’re right, you’re right. Move on. It’s just…
Oh dear God, here we go…
Well it’s not exactly true, you know. Isn’t that kind of a white lie? A white lie is still a lie.
I need a drink. Now.
Well, what if she continues on thinking I’m really good at this shit and then I fuck it up? Then I’ll have to confess that I really don’t know what I’m doing…
Nobody knows what the fuck they’re doing. Now cut it out.
I should say something.
No. No, you definitely should NOT say something. Live the lie, Naomi, cease the day!
The truth will come out eventually! It’s better I get it out of my system now while she still believes in me!
Don’t fucking do it. Just DON’T. FUCKING. DO IT. I will set myself on fire and then you will have no sense of reason anymore. DON’T THINK I WON’T DO IT.
“It hasn’t been that long, actually. Only four months.” I try to stay lighthearted.
Where’s the lighter? Where’s the fucking lighter?
“Oh?” She looks a little confused. Shit.
“Well, I mean I’ve worked in the industry a lot longer than that. But I’ve only been consulting for four months.” My fingers start to tremble in my lap and I lose track of my voice. “Actually, that’s an average,” I laugh nervously. “It’s been twelve weeks and four days. Although, that’s including weekends so really, fifty-nine days, which is more like two months, really. And it’s only half that when you consider that I don’t work at night either. So I mean, if you count up all the hours and do that math, it’s probably more like….” I stare at the ceiling while I do that math. “It’s like only twenty days.”
My shoulders fall. Fuck. Did I just tell her I only had twenty days of experience? What the hell is wrong with me?
You burned the only reasonable side of your brain, that’s what’s wrong with you, you idiot!
Why didn’t you tell me to stop?
Seriously? Are we having this conversation again? How are you going to fix this now?
I don’t know. I could apologize, I guess. Or explain.
No. No, none of that shit. And you’re listening to me this time. You’re going to say ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. Hear me?
So what, I just stare at her like an idiot?
Yes. Stare to your heart’s desire. As long as you shut the fuck up.
I look at Hannah who appears somewhat bewildered, but spreads a few sheets of paper out in front of her. “Well, shall we get started with the most recent project you’ve been working on? And please,” she looks at me earnestly with a coy smile, “I don’t need a rundown of exactly how many minutes you spent on it.”