I returned to the office outraged. I could not believe she would do such a thing. To actually railroad me into believing that her sister was a therapist so that I would spill my secrets.
“Where were you?” Constance asked as soon as I sat down at my cubicle.
“I had an appointment,” I answered, checking my email.
“Cynthia’s been in here twice already asking about you, you’re supposed to go directly to her office when you come back,” Constance informed, looking pained. “I tried to cover for you but she wouldn’t listen to me.” Her voice carried a note of panic. She nervously tugged at the oversized sweater she was wearing. “I think she’s really mad,” she concluded, her brows burrowed in a strained expression.
“Don’t worry, Constance,” I replied, marching down the hall to Cynthia’s office. I would just tell her to forget it. This was not what I had signed up for. What was I thinking? Did I actually think that Cynthia was rational? Reasonable?
Delores buzzed me through to Cynthia directly with a puzzled expression. No one got buzzed through directly.
“So you met with Jan?” Cynthia asked, without turning to face me. She was looking out the window.
“I met with Jan,” I replied. “Who, incidentally, you failed to mention, was not a counselor,” I added, allowing my frustration to seep into my voice.
“What? But I never said she was a counselor,” Cynthia said, turning around, feigning confusion. Aargh. I had heard her clearly use the word counselor. How could I have mistaken ‘sister’ for ‘counselor’? Is that what she was implying?
“Yes, actually, that it is precisely what you said,” I replied, standing my ground.
She waved her hand in the air. “It’s no matter, so we somehow got our wires crossed” she said dismissively. “She said you passed. With flying colors. Way better than the last three I sent.”
With flying colors?
What were the criteria here? Does not arrive at interview wielding ax? Does not have a tatoo of a cross on the center of the forehead? Does not casually allude to “my time in the pen” as some of the most productive of their life?
“She was a little concerned about the fact that you seemed fixated on her chest,” she added. “But that is absolutely not my business. I, for one, am not homophobic in the least, and I told my sister that she simply needs to loosen up.”
“What? No. I wasn’t staring at her chest. Honestly. It was the sailboats, on her dress. It was a very busy pattern, Mrs. Jacobson.”
She laughed a wry chuckle while lighting a cigarette. “I think the lady doth protest too much,” she said cryptically.
I’m screwed here. If I say nothing then I’m gay by virtue of the fact that I’m not denying it. But if I do deny it then I’m ‘protesting too much’ and am, therefore, gay anyways.
“Now I see why your wedding was called off. Trust me Kristina, you did the right thing. No use pretending.”
How? How could I be having this conversation?
“Mrs. Jacobson, that is not why my wedding was called off. I’m not gay. I told you. It was the sailboats. They were, like, hypnotic or something” I was pleading.
“Right. The sailboats. Of course,” she said, her voice dripping with sarcasm. “But rest assured, Kristina, it matters not to me. All that matters to me is the fact that you passed.”
I said nothing, just slumped down in leather couch.
Suddenly, the gay matter aside, though not the least bit resolved, she was all business again.
“You have an appointment on Friday at three for an ultrasound. Be sure to drink plenty of water.” She said before leaving the room.
I sat there for several minutes, until I could hear the clacking of her stilettos return to the room, just trying to process everything. Then I made a mad dash for my office where I buried myself in work for the remainder of the day.