Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Pen and Paper (07/17/14)
- TITLE: She 'Got' It
By Wilma Schlegel
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Comfortable? I was about to be interviewed for a job I didn't think I could live without.
"You look nervous. Listen, don't sweat it." This from the only other person in the room, a woman about my age, taller, bigger built, actually she looked like one solid muscle.
My muscles were quivering, or maybe it was just my flesh, any muscle I might have had, didn't stay for the interview.
"Hey, you look familiar, we went to school together, didn't we?" This other woman seemed to be way too at ease.
"I don't know," I managed.
"I'm Ruthie Clark. Summit High."
"No, I didn't go there." I answered.
"Well, let's see, we moved from..." she squinted her eyes as she thought then she startled me with her outburst. "I know, I know! New Alexandria Elementary - sixth grade, Keysher's class!"
"How could you possibly remember that? It's been over ten years?"
"I never forgot that class." She shook her head, her spikey orange and brown hair didn't move. "Keysher hated me, but he loved you."
"He didn't hate you." That's all I could think of in response.
"Remember all his rules - 'principles' he called them. 'Don't wear your nail polish half on and half off. Don't call people bad names. If you're a guy, don't go through the door in front of a girl.' I wished I was a guy just so I could break that rule, too!"
"They were good rules - principles," I sputtered. I had always thought that, but just then I felt like a 'goody-two-shoes'.
"Humpf, yeah. Principles, principles, principles! You know what I always said about him? 'Scarier than the principal, hairier than his principles'!!!" Ruthie laughed out loud and long. I was a little concerned that the people there would think we were together.
'Please know I'm more refined than this,' I tried to send that thought to the people doing the interviews.
"Hey," Ruthie started again. "What do you think of when I say 'get your pen and paper'?"
"I don't know - a black or blue writing pen and white paper." I said with all the imagination I could muster.
"I think of Keysher. Keysher making me measure an exact half inch in from each side of the paper, drawing margins in (with my pen), on every paper, every single one; and never, ever writing into that margin! Man, he drove me nuts."
"I remember that." My memory started to come back. "We all had to do that."
"Remember about the kinds of paper?" Ruthie didn't wait for an answer. "'Don't ever use a pen with newsprint. The fibers from the cheaper paper get caught in your pen tip and you'll produce a messy piece of work.' That's where I got him back. I always used cheap paper. Why should a little fuzzy fiber bother him? - 'Mr. Hairier-than-his-principles'!"
A woman opened the door as Ruthie finished, saving me from answering. "Mrs. Dillon, please follow me."
Ruthie, (Mrs. Dillon!) followed, but before she got through the door she turned back to me. "Don't sweat it, Keysher loved you, they will too."
"Thanks," I said as the door shut. And I saw myself for the jerk I was. Ruthie, if nothing else, was being her honest self and had tried to encourage me. What had I done but try to keep her at a distance? What a shame she didn't really have a chance with that company? I decided, (big breath), I'd try to keep in touch with her if I got to see her again.
As it turns out, it hasn't been hard to keep in touch. We both got hired. It took two weeks for them to decide to hire me. Ruthie was chosen right away. No one came close to her and all that the company saw in her.
They liked her compassion for other people and her ability to instill confidence in them. And here's the funniest part - they say she presented the most neat and organized resume they'd ever seen and that she'd thoroughly researched the company. They were highly impressed.
Now, I wonder where she learned that?
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