My man David was trying to make me see that I could resign.
All I need to do is hand in my notice. It really is as simple as that, if I could only make the decision, but it's scary to exercise your free will when you've been through a breakdown. How do you know your decisions are sensible and not thwarted by fear or skewed by panic or even an unexplained surge of giddy good feeling? You may well be patched up and recovered but you're forever on wobbly ground.
But I can rely on David to make good decisions, surely? He's the practical one. He will be motivated by common sense and calculators.
But perhaps not? Just as my thoughts might be warped by an exhausted mind, his might be pushed by a desire to protect me. I wish there was a helpline you could phone where a sensible matronly auntie answered your queries and decided on what was right. But there is no such person, there's only me and David, and I can't accept that I simply resign.
I am lying on the couch, packed in with blankets, a hot water bottle and wavering indecision.
'So what've you decided?' David asks.
I pull the box of hankies towards me, drag out another and start ripping at it.
David tries again. 'Are you going back to work tomorrow?'
I look up at him. 'Who won the Superbowl?'
'Are you going back tomorrow?'
'You were up all night watching it.'
He sighs. 'Are you going back?'
'I can't believe you won't tell me who won the Superbowl.'
'Ravens!' he said. 'Are you going back?'
I stood up. 'I'm going to refill the hot water bottle.'
Waiting in the kitchen for the kettle to boil I thought for the thousandth time about whether to just e-mail my resignation and be free, or go back in and be pointlessly brave. The kettle clicked off and I still couldn't decide.
I went back to the sofa, burrowed down amidst the blankets, and still couldn't decide. I looked at David who was watching me with lines of worry on his face and, no, I still couldn't decide.
I'd be afraid to be without a job. I've had one since I was at school, when my aunt 'got me in' to Marks and Spencer. It used to be an exclusive place to work and so you needed a friend or relative in the company who could speak up for you and 'get you in'. I remember sitting on the stairs, listening through the door as Gran chattered about how 'that's the wean got her foot in the door with Marks' and so job security for said wean lies ahead…
But there's no security if you have just a blank computer screen and arrogant hopes of writing a novel.
I pulled the blankets tighter about my chin and asked David to put on Limmy's Show and pour me an appallingly strong brandy. I clutched the hot water bottle so tight it squeaked and burped.
But there was to be no peace that day.
My mobile rang. It was Gary, my friend from work who was also the office union rep.
I didn't want to take that call. I wanted to kick the burbling mobile under the sofa, but it was just a few minutes after five so he'd clearly rang me as soon as he got out of work. It must be important.
I dragged a blanket with me and went into the bedroom to take the call.
Gary said he'd had a discussion with The Chief, in his position as union rep. Gary said he sympathised with our employer and that my job is at risk if I keep writing, and that I must make any changes they request. I must do what they say.
I stood up, the blanket tumbled off, and I roared at Gary. He was supposed to be my friend! How can I cut work out of my story? And he didn't have my permission to speak about this anyway, so who does he think he is!
He kept trying to interrupt but I refused to listen.
When I stopped for breath, Gary cut in and said, 'Julie, your job is at risk here. My advice to you, as a union rep, is that you take the blog down. That's my advice to you as a union rep.'
I started to argue but again he cut me off.
'That's my advice as a union rep, Julie,' he said again. 'But see my advice to you as a friend? My advice is to tell them to get themselves to f***.'
I sat down on the bed.
'Resign,' he said. 'Then get yourself on the sick till your notice expires.'
I laughed with relief and then said, 'but how can I just resign?'
'You've got your man, David. Is he not a good guy?'
I nodded and squeaked yes.
'Well then,' he said, and left it at that.
I could have kissed him. Lovable, wonderful wee baldy Gary! He had given me permission to resign! I couldn't have done it just based on David's offer, as I was stricken with the feeling that it was shameful to live off someone else. But Gary, as a neutral and normal person, not swayed by panic or fear or kindness, had said it was OK, it was fine, it was what anyone would do.
I went back into the living room, and David stood up, looking worried. All he'd heard from the bedroom had been shouting and crying, closely followed by the laughter of maniacs.
'What happened?' he asked.
'Who won the Superbowl?'
'You know fine it was The Ravens,' he said.
'Go Ravens,' I sighed and lay down on the sofa.
He knelt beside me, put his hand on my forehead and asked if he could get me anything.
'My laptop,' I said. I'm e-mailing my resignation.'
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