Guess what I did yesterday…?

I’m stuck. Frozen. I look around the room. Three sets of eyes watch me, waiting, hands hold ballpoints poised over lined, virgin notepads. These eyes and hands are expecting something. Anything. I fight the overwhelming urge to flee. To be free. I look at my watch: I’ve only just sat down.

I gulp as the first question is fired at me. Laugh nervously. Fidget. Rifle desperately through the filing cabinet of my brain, buying time. Attempt humour. I pray that something, anything, will bubble to the surface. Something, anything does and I grab at it, as a drowning woman grabs a life buoy.

My mouth opens and garbles out a jumbled sentence: scrambled words on toast. I check my notes. The words dance around on the page. I can’t quite grasp their meaning. The pre-emptive phrases I’d bolded earlier have been swallowed whole by the paper black hole, sucked into a vacuum of despair.

I clutch desperately at concepts, and mix them up in a salad bowl of examples. I should have cleaned the spatters of misplaced ideas from the edges before presenting them to the three sets of eyes and hands, but I’m rushed to serve up the dish. I’m ashamed of the inadequate offerings of what I’d prepared earlier. There are no steak knives or gift with purchase with this mish mash of thoughts.

The hour stretches into a cruel infinity. I know I am dying, but there is no redemptive light at the end of this tunnel. I stumble into oblivion but welcome the respite. It arrives just before the essence leaves my body. My time is up. Hands are extended and shaken. Civilities exchanged. References are requested.

I make my final break for freedom. And as relief washes over me, so does knowledge. Barring a miracle, this job is not mine.

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