Since my real life is very dull right now, here is my fictional life. This is the second page of the book. TTFN.
Cynthia had a reputation for being an ice queen. She was fairly well respected but not well liked, if that makes any sense. She was a hard worker; surely no one would deny her that. She was the first to arrive and often the last to leave. And even on her days off she was still working from home on her lap top, out making contacts or taking in exhibits to see stay abreast of what was out there. Frankly I’d always assumed that her lack of children had been a personal choice of her. Somehow her size two waist maintained by the Virginia Slim that was always dangling from her well manicured fingers, combined with the cell phone that she was forever talking to someone, or more accurately, drilling orders at someone, didn’t exactly spell maternal instincts to the average observer. And if she did have the desire to have children, it seemed unlikely that she would partake in something as primitive and banal as sexual intercourse, though it was not something I liked to think about.
The first time that I learned otherwise was at the company Christmas party, which was much dreaded because it would place us all in the same room with her for several hours. It wasn’t so much a party as a gathering. We were to go to a restaurant for dinner and drinks. Sounds easy enough. In theory.
The evening had gotten off to a ghastly, horrible start straight away when I noted that I was seated at a table with Cynthia and her husband, Horrace. What in the world I had done to deserve this was beyond me. I would have been happy to have been seated anywhere else, ANYWHERE, even with Chester from the cafeteria who looked as greasy as the Sloppy Joes he served for lunch. I looked at Chester with longing as I took my seat at the table of doom. Horrace, as it turns out, was aptly named, with teeth like a horse and a strange, high pitched laugh that left you wondering if it were intended as mock laughter or actual laughter. He was not a pretty boy, but he was rumored to be insanely wealthy. A day trader or something who had amassed a fortune from Viagra stock. Constance, the curry girl, was also seated with us, along with her partner. He was a rather soft spoken Indian gentleman (I guess that explains the curry) named Diel, which in itself seemed strange. I had to ask him three times to repeat himself to get his name straight and from there the conversation plummeted into silence. The chair next to me was painfully, obviously, vacant as dear fiancé and I had had recently ended our engagement.
Constance broke the silence by telling us a rather dull story about her daughters recent Christmas concert, but at this point I was happy to have anything other than silence and the glare of that woman sitting across from me. There’s no point in me relaying the story to you now, and in honesty, I’m not sure that I could remember it anyways, for I was only half paying attention, half trying to figure out exactly how I could extricate myself from this nightmare. The high point of the story caused Horrace to break out into laughter, which cause me to take a long swig of my wine. And then another. Cynthia shot me a rather disproving glare and I immediately replaced my glass on the table, apologizing to her, though I wasn’t so sure why I was apologizing. For drinking? At a social function? Did I miss the memo? Was this a dry event? I noticed that Constance and Diels glasses were filled with water. Water! But then what of the free bar? Was it some kind of a test? To separate the weak employees from the morally strong? And I had already failed. Five minutes into the event.
“My wife and I are pregnant, so we do appreciate an alcohol free environment,” Horrace explained, smiling his big, equine smile. Pregnant? How was it possible? The fact that she seemed to subsist off of cigarettes and latte seemed to preclude pregnancy, but then what did I know? And what was this ‘alcohol free environment’? First of all, was it even remotely possible that the alcohol that was being consumed three feet away from her was going to in some way become air borne and then get sucked into her vasculature? Am I the only one who thinks that that is absolutely absurd? Apparently so, because the four of them are looking at me with a lock of combined shock and disgust. Secondly, how is it okay for her to fill her lungs with nicotine but it was not okay for me to indulge in a glass of wine? At Christmas? But I said nothing and instead apologized again, as though I had done something truly atrocious like fart at the table rather than take a sip of wine.