“Meah, you have a meeting in five minutes,” my new boss, Ian, said as he passed by. “You up for it?”
So, this new job is pretty cool, actually. I don’t have to talk to people about their problems. I just have to make sure everything for the next event I’m a part of is in proper place, and that all of them are available when it’s needed, run if I have to, and then stay until the end of the event. Nothing about sitting down long hours and listening to people and their problems, most of which are pretty much the same, so I tend to say the same thing over and over again, too. This job may eat up more of my time, but I think it’s going to be less problematic than my old one.
I immediately felt guilty at the last thought. It’s not their fault if they have problems. And I shouldn’t belittle them — I mean, my life isn’t perfect, either. Who am I to speak?
I looked up from my desk, to the kind eyes of my manager. “Yes, I think so.”
He gave me the name of the meeting room and told me he’ll try to follow if his meeting ends early, and I just nodded. I got a notebook and pen, and started moving, with a quick pitstop at the pantry to get some water, giving me just enough time to get to the meeting room before the meeting starts.
Okay, you can do this, I told myself, taking a deep breath, before pushing the door open. You’ve talked to a ton of people, spoken at a few gatherings. This should be easy.
I pushed the door open, and looked around at the people inside the room. I gave them a small wave and started to move to the nearest seat by the door. Ruth, the Creatives Director, nudged the seat beside her.
“You can sit here, Meah,” she said. As soon as I sat down, she whispered, “Your boss asked me to look out for you.”
“Oh,” I replied, my face turning a few shades red. I wasn’t used to this. “Thanks.”
Ruth smiled. “Don’t sweat it. This isn’t a big meeting. And you’ll do fine.”
Yep, I definitely wasn’t used to this.
I listened to the conversations of the people around me, and watched how they interact with one another, one of the things I like doing. I liked seeing and figuring out the relationships between people, trying to see if I get it right based on first impressions alone. People have different energies when they talk to each other, and it’s fun figuring out who are good friends and who are kind of faking it. I keep these observations to myself, of course, and I figure it’s still a good way to practice in my field.
That, and I just really like people watching. It’s kind of how I knew right from the start how this guy one of my best friends dated almost two years ago was an absolutely wrong fit for her. I don’t know how she lasted a month with that guy — he screamed self-centered jerk the moment she introduced me to him. She wasn’t even the type who’d fall for bad guys. It took her some time really see him for who he was, but I was finally, finally glad when she told me about how she told him off.
And that very same guy had just entered the meeting room.
“Everyone, this is Francis Lim, our client for this event. Francis, this is the team.”
Six heads swung in my direction, before I realized that I had spoken that out loud. I sat back and shut my mouth abruptly, my teeth making a loud clacking sound in my head. My cheeks were burning, but before I could look away, Francis actually smiled.