TITLE: Google Me God
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Wendy sat at a red plastic table in the food court of the Galleria. She ate her Blue Bell ice cream and watched the kids below in the ice rink. Kids bright with living. Girls in skating skirts of red, blue and purple doing figure eights, scratch spins and jumps.
Wendy Jacob’s hands shook as she spooned ice cream into her mouth. Not from the cold, but from seething anger; anger directed inward. Why hadn’t she seen Pauline’s motives? Especially when Pauline had told her point blank she was out to get her job. She had been warned.
Today everything unraveled like a moth eaten sweater. She’d been blindsided, now hours later, she could see how the pieces fit together. She had been knitted into a cloak of mendacity.
She wiped a tear as it dripped from her chin. Her head was bowed from the weight of her brokenness. How could she overcome this? Her pride had been so wounded.
Wendy reflected on the past six months. Pauline Dupont had wanted her job, she had said so, and she had refused to believe it. All of the strange events now made sense. The clandestine staff meetings, which were always held on her days off. No one ever informed her of them. The topic of this last one, three days ago, had been her! Pauline had amassed an itinerary of false accusations and misinformation about her. Unbeknownst to Wendy, Pauline had been lying for months to her coworkers. The most hurtful thing was, everyone had accepted these outrageous lies without so much as a question. It all made sense now. On the days Wendy had been off, Pauline had been bringing in gourmet lunches for the staff, rolling her venom along with the ham in her Chicken Cordon Bleu.
It had all began when Wendy had asked her boss if she could go part time. He was willing to allow it, if she could find someone to job share with. Otherwise, because it was a fulltime position, she’d have to quit. Pauline’s name was passed to her and Wendy had been instrumental in Pauline being hired. Within two weeks Wendy had doubts about this union. Pauline had complained about her time immediately. Eventually she had asked for Wendy to come in on Fridays to help triage calls. Tension became so thick between them; one could have sliced it to make a sandwich. When Wendy returned to work after having been off, she’d discover files missing from her desk. These same files would later be found in storage bins or empty boxes. Pauline always magically found them. No one seemed to put two and two together, she hadn’t.
Friday was the finale of the Dupont chronicles. Wendy had arrived early to clear her desk of several pending issues. A memo lay right in the middle of her desk, there was no way she could have missed it. Someone had wanted her to see it and hoped for the reaction it yielded. It was written in her boss’s hand, notes from Tuesday’s meeting. It was a list of specific complaints about her. She had been accused of not job sharing, being difficult to work with and of hoarding work. It was mean spirited. Wendy went straight into Mr. B’s office, memo in hand.
“Mr. B, I’m sorry to interrupt you, but I don’t understand this memo regarding me. If things had been so bad why didn’t someone say something to me? I’ve been here two years and you’ve never said anything about my work. I have never heard one complaint. Seems strange that since job sharing, I am no longer a team player. ”
“Not now Wendy, we’ll discuss this after hours this afternoon.”
Wendy worked out the day like a sleepwalker, her senses dulled. The pressure of Mr. B’s unspoken words squeezed her heart like a disease. The day finally dragged to an end.
An unsmiling Mr. B approached Wendy’s desk, “Could you come into my office, now.” It was not a question but a command. His tone was ominous.
She walked behind him; her feet as heavy as concrete blocks. He sat behind his desk, she across from him. His gaze was hot and pinpointed, like the sun through a magnifying glass. Then he spoke, “Why did you take this off my desk? Whatever is on my desk is personal. Wendy, if I can’t trust you, then I will have to let you go.”
She spoke not a word in her own defense. He didn’t address the contents of the memo at all. He only wanted to know how the memo came to be in her possession. She’d like to know that also. He wanted her gone, and Pauline had wanted her gone. She cleaned out her desk and like a kicked dog, tucked her tail between her legs and left. Before leaving she gave her key to the office manager. She felt like screaming, Kathy, you know me. We’ve prayed together. How could you have not stood up for me? What’s going on? It was too late to ask that now. Questions she should have asked but didn’t.
She ate the last spoonful of ice cream mingled with her tears. She silently prayed, “God, search my heart and see if there be any wicked way in me. Don’t allow any bitter root to take hold. I choose not to be offended. Heal my heart.”
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