"The cause came to me. I was just in the right place at the right time." Her lips curled ever so slightly into a smirk, revealing the tips of her perfectly-capped teeth. One of her incisors, dyed crimson by inadvertent application of lip gloss, drew my attention away. I considered alerting her to the error, but she is quickly drawn into another conversation.
She's someone else's problem now.
Awkward moments have dominated our relationship since I was hired. Walking in the door, I felt extremely confident. Interviews had always been my strong point, as the chance to make idle conversation usually breaks the ice and establishes an easy rapport. Once I saw the secretary, a young woman no more than a few years older than myself, I felt reassured that my youth would not prove a hindrance. When she called my name, I passed through the glass doors and took my seat. The woman behind the mahogany desk did not acknowledge my presence. Instead, her attention remained steadily focused upon the smartphone in her hands.
"Damn phone! How the hell do I check my mail on this?" She said. The secretary, hearing the loud complaints, returned to the room and showed the steps for opening the e-mail program. Sighing constantly through the explanation, the older woman in the business suit muttered something that sounded like thank you before shoving the phone into one of the desk drawers. The secretary nodded and left without another word, shutting the door behind her. I sensed a general annoyance in the air, as if my presence was just another hassle for the deeply stressed and distressed executive.
"How can I help you?" She asked. Her confusion had seemed to cascade from struggles with technology. Lost within her own mind, the woman did not seem the least bit of aware of our scheduled interview.
"I am here for the managerial position as we discussed on the phone yesterday. You are set to open in two weeks, are you not?" I tried to keep my voice level, but a twinge of anger crept in as I asked the question.
The lobby I passed through on my way to her office had yet to be finished; the floors remained covered in dirt and the walls were in serious need of patching. Based on my estimation, it would take a few months to bring the location up to par for an inspection. Yet, the grand opening was scheduled for the end of the next week. The impossibility of the proposal did not seem to sink in for the woman seated across the overly-cluttered table.
"Ah. Good to meet you. I am Maxine, and this is my baby," She pointed to a plaque on the wall signifying the groundbreaking five years previously, "and you are..."
She doesn't even remember.
"I am Aron. Do you not..."
"Oh, Aron, of course. I am horrible with names. Please forgive me."
"Not a problem, we all have that issue sometimes. May I ask how things are going so far?"
"There is still quite a ways to go, but I feel confident we can turn things around by the grand opening. Next week, it will have been a half century since the March, the Dream, and the Speech. We cannot let such an opportunity slip through our grasp."
"I agree completely. We need to bring this history to the forefront today more than ever. Too many people have ceased to struggle on behalf of their fellow man for the equality of all. I hope that I can help contribute to solving this problem, rather than perpetuating it like so many others."
"That is most admirable. Can you tell me a little more about yourself?"
As I go over my background, it becomes obvious that Maxine had not gone to the trouble of looking over my resume in the least bit. She mistakenly thought we had gone to the same school, despite living in different states and possessing different majors. When her assumptions did not come into direct conflict with the truth, I let the point fall so as to not appear contradictory.
"Fascinating. We would love to use you."
No contract was offered. No terms were signed. A handshake and a see you tomorrow were all that I had as I left through the same glass doors I had just recently entered. The secretary was no where to be seen. The computer was still on, a half-played game of Solitaire left on in the background. The eerie silence was soon broken by a string of expletives heard through the door.
"Damnit. Jesus Christ, how do you unlock this fucking thing!"
I let myself out and left her to deal with the pressing problem.