[Fiction Practice] Arriving Too Early

She too arrived early for the most important interview of her career. Her mind raced during the overwhelming drive to the stately building. No meditation training helped ease the anxiety, which bled onto the receptionist’s desk. “H-H-Hi, I’m here for an interview with,” she checked her paperwork, “M-Marissa Desta and… Z-Zheng Harper.” “Yes. Can I see your ID, miss?” After blundering through innocent answers, she had a temporary badge, and a seat by the window.

She was still 20 minutes early.

There wasn’t enough time to grab a quick bite to eat. She couldn’t focus enough to read. The reception area didn’t have any guest restrooms she could use, either, so she could have somewhere private to just close her eyes, steady her breathing, and get out of this adrenaline state that just wasn’t going away.

She thoroughly studied her surroundings.

Her studies included a humble potted tree next to the window, which overlooked a brick wall, and well-groomed courtyard. That reminded her to check her hair to make sure it wasn’t too frizzy, which it wasn’t, and it was neatly stowed in a ponytail. The faux-wood seats and glass tables had an weird canteen vibe.

Not even 5 minutes rolled by.

She brought out one of her resumes from her interviewing folder and slowly read through it to appear busy. The words didn’t formulate into comprehensible thoughts, though, just as racing thoughts full of apprehension hoping not to find something appalling just before the interview. She ended up idly glancing at the cheap paper and printing.

‘Just put the resume away.’

She worried that thought carried too loudly throughout the Eville Department of Revenue reception area. There was no one else there, besides the receptionist who was clearly disinterested in her job and the security guard waiting by the elevators that was vacantly staring out into space, neither of whom had moved when she looked around.

Breathe in deeply. Breathe out.

Breathing in deeply again, she started to feel the knot inside her stomach loosen, and breathing out relieved the pressure around her eyes. This helped significantly. She continued this breathing technique for another five minutes, occasionally glancing away from the gold-plated clock just to the side of the receptionist desk. No additional visitors or passerbys.

The interview time eventually arrived.

No motion from the receptionist or the elevators. She opened her interviewing folder, looked at the print out of the interview schedule, and sure enough they were running late. Nothing to fret about. It actually would work out better this way. ‘No, no worries at all!’ she began thinking of how to respond upon hearing-

“Jane? Jane Lanyard? I’m Marissa!”

“N-yes!” The interview went well… initially. She charmingly answered every question precisely, while conveying a thorough understanding of the subject material, until she lost steam in the last 10 minutes. She could have used something to eat before the interview, because after leaving and calling the recruiter to debrief, she feasted at a mediocre burger place.

And never heard anything back.

SourcesName randomizer for Marissa and Zheng. Revenue was the most popular “Department of” search result.

Quotes: None

Inspirations: 60% inspired by recent events. My way of brainstorming why an interview failed.

Related: Somewhere in the Sammohini Arc of “The Story.”

Photo: Random photo for flavor of a shopping mall cafeteria.

My big goal is writing. My most important goal is writing "The Story." All other goals should work toward that central goal. My proudest moment is the most recent time I overcame some fear, which should have been today. I'm a better zombie than I was yesterday. I'm not better than you and you're not better than me. Let's strive to be better every day.