Square One

The phone rang.  She smiled a little as she picked it up—she was always pleased to see that name on the screen.

“Hey, what’s up?”

And so passed a few pleasantries.  She was pretty sure she rambled a little, but she was also pretty sure he was OK with it. That was just her.

“So, there’s something I haven’t told you about me.”

That didn’t sound good.

“I’m married.”

Silence.

“Just kidding,” he laughed.

She rolled her eyes.  She had been pretty sure he was joking anyway. Pretty sure.

“But I really do have something to tell you.”

Uh oh.

“I might be moving to D.C. soon.  Like really soon.  Like maybe in a few weeks.”

What?

“Oh,” was all she could come up with.

“I applied for this job a month or two ago, and I just got called for the first round of interviews today.”

“Oh.” Again. But also, “That’s great.”  She hoped she sounded appropriately enthused.

He said something, something about the job.  “So there are so many candidates… know in a week or two for second interviews… blah blah… pay for me to live there… blah… writing… blah… sports… blah blah.”

She was still processing.

“So, I didn’t know if you still wanted to hang out…?” She was pretty sure he didn’t use those words, but that was the general idea.

“Why wouldn’t I?” Um, because you’re leaving.

She could practically hear his shrug. “Most girls I’ve hung out with probably wouldn’t want to.”

Well, clearly, she liked to drag these things out. But she didn’t say that.

“Oh. Well, I mean, nothing’s set in stone yet.” Or I can’t close doors. “I mean, I figure I’ll worry about it when it happens.”

He talked a little. She couldn’t tell you about what.  She was still processing.

A few moments passed. More talking.

“So, wait, you’ll find out about interviews when? And that interview is in D.C.?” She had picked up a few bits and pieces.

“Right.  So I had the first interview today, and they said they’ll make calls for second interviews before the 25th.”

Wow, that soon? “Oh nice, you’ll know soon then.”

“Then, if I’m selected for the second round, they’ll fly me down to D.C. for a few days, like the 29th to the 2nd, to check out the place and interview with the supervisors there.”

There goes that weekend. “How crazy.”  Can’t you think of anything else to say???

“Seriously crazy.” Did he really talk that way? She couldn’t remember his actual words.  Maybe those were more of her words.

“So wait, is this a permanent thing or just like a year-long placement or what?”

“Just a year.”

“Would they keep your job for you here, or would you just have to quit?” That’s not very responsible, you know.  Or maybe I just want you to stay.

“Well, that’s the thing. I’m not tenured, so I can’t just take a sabbatical.  If anything, it would be an unpaid leave.  But I mean, I’d obviously be getting paid in D.C.”

“But would your position be here for you when you were done?”

“I’m not sure.  But I did talk to my principal about it tonight—I mean, when they first called I was all for it, but then as soon as I hung up, obviously reality hit a little.  So I called him and we met up, and he was just really cool about it.  He said if it happened, we would figure out what to do then, and I mean, if worse comes to worse, I have experience and I’ve done a lot—I’m sure I could find something.”

“Oh, yah.” Please don’t go?

“That’s what I was kind of thinking, anyway, but it was nice to hear him say that, too.”

“Right, of course.”  You’re braver than I. 

“So, I just wanted to give you a heads up…”

Laugh.  “Well, thanks.”  Laugh again.

“So, hang out this weekend then?”

“Yah, sounds good.” Well, for one more weekend at least.

Insert the usual “see you later” exchange.

Ignore the twisting in her stomach.

And the feeling of being back to Square One.  She was pretty sure Square One sucked.

The conversation ended.  She glanced down, and the app screen stared up.

Phone –> Favorites –> Mom.

“Hey.  Chris just called…”

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About Nicole Fuhrman

I like run-ons. And as a former Language Arts teacher, I should be appalled. But I teach Science now, so it's ok. Oh, I also like to start sentences with conjunctions. NBD.
This entry was posted in Fiction, Relationships, Short Stories, Stories and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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