CH 23 CROSSROADS
Still like death. Static. A fog. Dead space.
Hanako feels like a goldfish trapped in a geometric glass container. She has been here before, living a slow death by cubicle. A free spirit toiling in captivity.
“Ohayō gozaimasu” the receptionist says, looking up at Hanako from under sharp fluorescent lights.
“Ohayō,” Hanako says, a smile plastered automatically to her face. “I’m here for a 9 o’clock with Kana Moshimoto.”
“Good morning,” the receptionist amends, quick to catch on to Hanako’s language handicap. “Have a seat and I will let her know you’re here.”
“Arigato gozaimasu,” Hanako says and sits, but she already feels like sinking. It’s as though all the fluttery, anxious, overstimulated sensations she’d experienced moments before have gone and left her an empty shell.
She had been excited about this second interview—confident. The internal recruiter had said over the phone, “I like you,” a laugh in her voice, the professional reservation gone for the moment. “If you work hard, you can promote quickly here. After two years, you’re guaranteed the opportunity to move anywhere else in the world you want within the company and the pay is very competitive.”
Hanako had nodded even though no one could see her: eager, excited, ready.
She had already noted some destinations: London, Sydney, Paris, Milan, Hong Kong, Singapore, and any major city in the U.S. including Los Angeles. It was the life she wanted. A life of freedom! Self-reliance! Independence!
A life of identifiable challenges with attainable rewards. To possess it all dependent on nothing and no one but herself. And what she knew about herself was that if she worked hard enough, she could do anything. Have anything. And what she wanted was to be free.
Free from financial worries big and small.
Free from the designs her creativity had on her. Free to not write.
Free from ties to her husband’s dreams.
Free to do this one thing, just for her.
She could feel the empowering arms of freedom buffering her own.
“Hanako?” A tall man in a grey suit steps into the lobby. His eyes are warm and friendly, his look, assessing.
“Are you ready?"
Photo by Elliot Mann https://unsplash.com/@elljm44