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Trash Without Reading

Page 5

Darryl Emmerson

She wouldn’t ring Jake – no sense going down that road again – but next day she did take the step of closing her Facebook account, at least things would stop from that direction. She had heard the company had some arrangement with a counsellor, you could go and see them once or twice, at no cost, if you were having an issue, either personal or work-related. The man was middle aged, with an unsurprised, heard-it-all air that reassured her. It cannot be said that her story was very coherent. Maybe it was his extremely attentive manner, because, at first, she found herself, to her dismay, hesitant and weepy. After some time, though, she grew calmer, as she saw he seemed to grasp both the events and her reaction to them.

Then he said, I’m curious, what connection does this woman have to you? Is she in your work unit?   No.    Not your manager or close colleague?   No.   But she works for the same company?   Yes.   And she’s taken it upon herself to analyse, criticise and demoralise you?   I suppose so.   One more thing. Why do you answer these messages, when you see who sends them, and you know what they contain?   Well, it’s professional to answer isn’t it? Isn’t that what I’m supposed to do?

Such misplaced conscientiousness, such self-abasement amazed and alarmed him, and his manner changed entirely. Michelle, please, do not read, consider or answer these messages. Trash them without reading, OK? And can you please think about letting your manager know about this? She has to know what’s going on.

Our story ends, strangely enough, on a successful note. Later that week – it took her a few days – Michelle approached Paula and told her about the months of harassment. Paula, like the counsellor, lost all her usual calm and swung round, phone in hand, saying Well we’re not going to put up with this, are we? She rang Tracy’s boss then and there, and things moved pretty quickly. Tracy took unexpected leave, never to return, actually, and the shifty Jacklyn went elsewhere later that year, too. Michelle remains at the firm. The dreams stopped.


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