This is the first month Aside from Writing’s ‘Sunday Write-Up’ feature has run, and as it was my idea I should really take part :) It’s a monthly creative writing challenge, just a bit of fun to get you doing something different once a month and share what you produce with the other followers of the blog. Click on the image above to go to the blog and find out more about this month’s challenge.
In the meantime, here is my effort…
The Prompts: follow, bird, delivery, eye, missed
My Piece: ‘The Interview’ A snapshot scene, featuring a young woman on her way to a job interview.
You know that sensation you get when you’re on your own, but you feel like someone’s there with you? I usually get it when I’ve stayed up too late watching rubbish on TV and I’m in the bathroom washing my face. I expect to open a soapy eye and find someone standing next to me… There never is, but somehow, even though I know it’s a stupid idea, I still feel like someone was there for a split-second. And I just missed them.
The day I went for my interview, I felt exactly like that. But, it wasn’t late at night and I wasn’t on my own. I was in the middle of a busy city centre, heading for the train station that would take me to my six o’clock appointment.
There were people all around me, some chatting and laughing with friends; others chirruping into mobile phones, like their lives depended on the conversation they were having. He said, she said, I-don’t- believe-it crap.
The end-of-day workers stood out the most. The people around me who were pretending they were all alone…that they weren’t being jostled from side to side in a throng of hundreds of people. They looked like they had taken all the human interaction they could manage for one day. Perhaps an unsolicited hello, or unwelcome nudge could push them over the edge into white-collar meltdown.
Why was I going for this interview?
Surely, I didn’t want to end up like these people… Worrying at the end of the day about the delivery of some presentation or another, whether that email had been actioned in time, whether a bonus was going to pay off the credit card bills that had already been racked up…
I sighed. It was already too late for me to break away. I’d left uni, degree in hand, bright eyed and bushy-tailed like the rest of my debt-ridden pals. Done the weird and wonderful graduate interview panels, with group games and personality profiles, and found myself ideally suited to a career in financial management.
The doors of the train slid open at my stop and I slithered through the other passengers to break out onto the platform. It was quick walk from the station to Elizabethan House, where my interview was and so I merged into the stream of people flowing up the stairs to the street above.
I didn’t expect the odd feeling of being watched to follow me off the train, but it did. Trying not to be obvious, I glanced behind me, to see if there were any familiar faces in the crowd coming from the platform. In the multi-hued sea of skin, there was no one I recognised, so I turned back to the stairs beneath my feet and trundled upwards with everyone else.
Free of the station and stuffy air of the underground train I headed up Market Street, avoiding the dead bird that had been flattened into the kerb as I crossed the road.
However this interview went, at least I was in a better position than the squished bird.