Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Reading (01/25/07)
TITLE: Deep Understanding
By Allison Egley
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Marie cringed inside. This was exactly what she was hoping would not happen. She took a deep breath. "Well, Dr. Collins, some of my past supervisors and co-workers have noticed that I can tell what people are thinking and tell things about their lives from their surroundings and by how they carry themselves. I've found it really helps women open up, so they can speak to the counselors more easily. If I can tell them what they are feeling and tell them about their past, they don't have to be the first ones to bring it up."
"I see. Would you mind demonstrating this 'ability?'" Dr. Collins replied skeptically.
"Well, I... I wouldn't think you'd want me speaking with the women before I'm actually hired for this position...."
Dr. Collins chuckled. "I don't mean them. You need to prove your abilities first. Try them out on me."
"I'm... not sure if that would be appropriate for this interview, Dr. Collins."
"Oh, don't worry. I won't hold anything against you."
"Okay. I'll try." Marie studied her interviewer hard, worried about what she may discover about Dr. Collins. "I can see from the worry lines on your face that you have at least one child. Those lines can only come from parenthood. I can also sense from the way you've been playing with your hair that you feel insecure, despite your high position. You're afraid someone will come along and do better than you, and you'll loose your position.
"Looking at this picture here, I can tell that it's an older picture. I'm going to guess you have at least one teenage son who hates getting his picture taken and hates having his picture on display even more. You respect that, so you don't have a current family picture on your desk."
A look of shock washed over Dr. Collins' face. "Go on. What else can you learn about me?" There was an edge to her words, but also curiosity. Marie plunged ahead.
"I see a bouquet of flowers over there on the windowsill. Either you just had a fight with your husband and he wanted to make up, or you have a very strong relationship with him, and both of you enjoy surprising each other with little gifts for no reason, other than your love for each other. You like to travel, because I can see the souvenirs scattered throughout your office."
Marie took a deep breath. The next thing she read about Dr. Collins was going to be very hard to say. It could cost her the position, if she hadn't lost it already. "Finally, I can tell that you have been hurt by someone. Either someone you love here on earth or God. There isn't any joy in your eyes. There isn't that twinkle that being a mother, wife, and successful executive should bring. For all of your success to not reach your eyes means there is something you are trying to hold deep inside. Something you've only told those closest to you, and maybe not even them."
Marie paused, looking for a reaction. Seeing no change, she forged ahead. "You probably took this job at the crisis center because you thought one of the counselors would see your hurt. You thought someone here would help you, but you didn't want to come in as a patient. Maybe your hurt has nothing to do with the services of this institution, but you're still longing for someone to ask you about your pain. You've been waiting for someone to ask you if you're okay, and wanting...."
"I've... I've had enough of this hogwash, Ms. Marie Lindel," Dr. Collins replied curtly. "This interview is over."
Marie walked to her car, certain she had blown her chance to secure this job.
One week later, as Marie returned home from her women's Bible study, she noticed the light on her answering machine blinking. She pressed the button.
"Ms. Lindel? It's Dr. Collins from Still Waters Women's Center. I'd like to offer you a position here. I really think you could help these women. Could you start on Monday? You can start by helping me."
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