A whole room full of people, and I feel alone, Naomi thinks as she listens to the back and forth of the meeting, taking notes and outlining the minutes she'll have to create later.
Despite the notes, she takes nothing in, her mind a blank slate as she fixates on an empty area of the room. Her hands mechanically typing away on the keyboard as her mind wanders.
The board room they sit in is one of the wood panelled rooms with leather seats, a huge table and a projector screen at the end, yet there's no projector in sight; she hates it. The decor has always left her feeling somewhat dejected; the walls seem to absorb all the light and sound and feeling, making it seem like a huge, lonely cavernous place. Naomi's focus is broken as Jack slips into the room, giving her a pitying glance; making Naomi angry, what fucking right does he have to pity me?
Her lips tighten involuntarily and her irritation breaks through to show on her face. Jack looks away as he approaches the director - sitting a few paces away on Naomi's left - and whispering in his ear. Naomi glances up at the man's face as Jack passes on a message, sees his eyebrows rise in response as he nods his head; she begins to save the notes to the laptop and then to a memory stick for porting to her workstation.
\"That's enough for today I think,\" says the director as he stands and turns his gaze around the room, stopping momentarily on everyone present. \"You'll receive a copy of the minutes by the end of the day and, I expect all of you to have read them by tomorrow where we will pick up the thread again. Naomi, will you make sure everyone gets their copy?\"
\"Yes, no problem, I'll get it done right away,\" she responds, flashing a slight smile.
Jack leaves the room as unobtrusively as possible whilst everyone else picks up their paperwork and notes before filing out; some chatting to their friends.
Janice approaches Naomi.
\"Did you actually register any of that?\" she says, as she flattens the creases out her pants suit.
Naomi smiles, glances over at her boss and shakes her head. \"No, not a thing; but then, I don't need to, it's you guys who have that burden, I'm just the secretary.\"
\"Please,\" Janice replies. \"You and I both know you're far brighter than all the morons in this place.\"
Naomi's face lights up at the compliment and she leans forward, she always liked Janice, and places a hand on Janice's arm. \"Thank you I needed that.\"
Giving Naomi a conspirational wink, Janice turns, grabs her notes from the table and joins the end of the queue to leave, leaving Naomi noticably happier.
It takes around five minutes for everyone to unclog the doorway, eventually allowing Naomi to head for her desk and the work that awaits her attention. She wanders through the office as music plays in her head, amazed at how one little remark can change her mood so substantially.
She resolves, again, to never let Connor affect her so much. Next time, and she is certain there will be a next time, I'll go to the cops, let them deal with the asshole.
Breezing into her office; Naomi's new sense of purpose driving her towards her desk and the to-do list awaiting her attention. Unlocking the desktop she plugs the USB memory stick into the computer. Opening her notes and a blank document she gets to work on the minutes.
The work only takes a couple of hours, so, taking out her personal memory stick, plugging it in she opens the story she has been working on and begins to read through it; making corrections, rewording parts, deleting others and adding more in.
A short while later she sits back, reading it to herself, delighted with the end product. Next step; publish it online, she thinks as she copies it all and saves the finished work.
Opening up her internet browser, she searches for an online writing community-for free of course-and finds one. Clicking on the link, the home page for Booksie.com pops up, she registers for it and within five minutes her story is awaiting its first comment.
Pleased with herself she logs off and goes out for lunch.
An hour later finds Naomi back at her desk with another mountain of paperwork chaining her to her seat. Even this fails to dampen her positivity as she slowly but surely whittles down the pile.
Singing to herself as she finishes the last document off and sends it to her boss, she opens up the internet browser on her computer and pulls up Booksie.
She sighs, thirty reads, zero comments, is my writing really that bad?
She logs off and leans back in her chair, feeling a little deflated; not realising just how much she was looking for some good feedback, a glimmer of something good.
© Copyright 2016 M K Brown. All rights reserved.
Short Story / War and Military
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