Jada WIlliams sat at her desk with her eyes fixed on the computer screen in front of her, fingers resting on the keyboard, breath catching in her throat.
Suddenly, her back and shoulders tensed up in that all too familiar way, and her head jerked from side to side. The room around her blurred as her eyes struggled to fix themselves onto something.
What was she looking for?
Her shoulders hunched as she leaned in toward her desk. Then slowly, she glanced through her peripherals, first to the left, then to the right. No one seemed to be noticing.
Then came the tingles. Seriously? She thought.
Tiny vibrations danced beneath her skin, like carbonation jumping up from a freshly poured glass of soda pop. This invasion of energy made its way from the space between her shoulder blades, all the way down to the tips of her fingers. She wiggled them over the keyboard, and rolled her neck from side to side before letting out a big, exacerbated breath of air.
Okay, Jada, she thought. Just focus on your work.
Her eyes skimmed the task description for the job in front of her. Her breath quickened.
She glanced back up at the job title. Copy request.
Who created this task? The thought.
Then again she skimmed the description. She read through it over and over. What are you asking me to do, Cameron?
She pressed her hands into her face before sliding them into her hair, stretching the skin on her cheeks and around her eyes. Gripping her fingers around her skull, she moved them up, down, and around in a circular motion, creating sensation throughout her scalp before sliding her hands back down toward her chin.
She cupped both hands over her mouth an nose. Okay Jada, just focus on your breath.
She took a slow and deliberate inhale, noticing the sensation in her nostrils, following it up toward her skull, down into her lungs, and then through to her belly. Then on the release, she followed the breath all the way back out. Her therapist had taught her this trick.
Over and over – slow breath in, slow breath out.
Her heart rate slowed, her body relaxed but her brain was still buzzing and the tingling sensation, still spreading.
Why is this happening, she thought. She removed her hands from her face and again her head jerked from side to side. People were moving about the room. They were talking, and laughing, and shifting things around. They were discussing, and critiquing, and planning, and scrapping.
What was she supposed to be doing? How long had she not been doing it?
She glanced at the clock on her computer. 10:55.
Nearly two hours she’d been there. Nearly two hours and nothing was getting done.
Just focus on the work, Jada. You can do this.
She read through the job description, one word at a time. Then again; and again.
No, she thought. No you cant.
It’s time. It’s finally time. Time to pack up your shit. Time to put in that two weeks notice you keep thinking about.
But how will I get by?
You have your freelance work. Get a part time job and supplement your income with that. Whatever you do, you just can’t stay here anymore. You can’t even do this one simple job, so what’s the point? It’s time to leave.
Jada’s hands were once again cupped over her face, her eyes fixed on the computer screen, arms tingling, vision blurring.
She blinked back a few tears, grabbed her purse and made her way to the parking lot.
Photo By: Volkan Olmez