It was bound to happen eventually in a small town such as this one. But these things never happen where and when you think they will.
I was out with Derby folk last night, drinking well whiskey and fruity shots when I glanced over and noticed a familiar face.
He worked there. In that evil place I don’t even like to look at as it towers alone in the middle of the valley, garishly lit with purple lights, half of which are burned out and have been since before I worked there.
I’ve been dreading for a year, since I walked out of the building, personal effects in hand, my head held high, determined, above all, not to cry as I wondered if my dreams of owning a home were dashed just as I had finally gathered the courage to put an offer on one. Wondering where I would work in a town where I knew no one except my boss who resigned by the end of that day.
Worse, it was his mother who pulled the biggest betrayal of all. Forcing me to attend meetings with spreadsheets that were incomplete, only to be told by the CEO that I was wasting his time. Telling me what a wonderful job I was doing; befriending me during long meetings in her office that I attended off the clock in order to get the job done, then whispering in the ear of that same CEO that I didn’t know what I was doing, and taking credit for those same spreadsheets, now complete.
She wasn’t the only one. I dread ever running into the other two.
I’m not sure if he recognized me. I’m sure he did, we worked fairly closely together at one time. It doesn’t matter. I didn’t acknowledge him. In my mildly intoxicated haze I didn’t know what to do. Not that I would have if I had been sober, but by the time I reminded myself not to blame the son for the sins of the mother, he was gone.
I tried to explain it to CNR. I imagine it sounded lame, but he doesn’t know how that situation devastated me. Not just financially, but it shook the foundation of my belief that people are inherently good and that those things only happen on TV. How could he know? He didn’t know me then. He hardly knows me now, and as time passes, the details of that story grow fuzzier. When people ask me now, how I ended up on Reno, I tell then that I came here for a job and that it didn’t work out. I rarely say where. I tell the story even less.
Life is so much better now. I’m glad I stayed in Reno. I’m glad I was fired. I’m sure I will always feel negativity towards that place, but there is nothing there for me. I do not miss walking through that building. I’m happy with the job that I have, have grown accustomed to making less money but also going home after 8 hours paid and knowing that as long as I do my best, I still have a job. As far as I know, no one here feels threatened by me. No one here undermines my ability to do my job. As far as I know. I think I will always be a little on edge about that. I wake up every morning, and I don’t dread going to work. I don’t have to give myself a pep talk about how it’s going to be a great day because I already know that it will be. My biggest issues these days are whether or not I remembered my lunch. (I forgot it today…)(Except for that one thing which is eating at me; more about that as time progresses) There are days when I laugh so hard I cry.
I hope that the next time I run into someone from there I have the presence of mind to at least smile. Wave. I don’t have to be friendly. I don’t have to hang out. I don’t have to be buddies. I want as little connection to that place as possible. The occasional text messaging conversation with the maintenance dispatcher or the increasingly rare telling of the story. That doesn’t mean I shouldn’t be polite to former coworkers. They are people too and chances are; they are just as unhappy as I was.