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Bedoor Bluemoon

Everyday writing to expose the soul

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SHORT STORY

The Job Interview- Chuckle

Chuckle

job interview

As a fresh graduate, I never knew my true worth in the job market.  I thought that I would be lucky to get a job, any job.  I know that I haven’t been the best student to graduate from college but, come on, at least I graduated with a decent degree and some knowledge that I thought would do me well.

What I didn’t know was that people in the real world aren’t giving out jobs like lollipops, it is a gruesome process to get employed.

So when I got a call for an interview just a few weeks after graduating and applying to every single company I know including google, I was stunned.  Happy, but stunned.  I knew that many people didn’t get a call EVER.

Let me tell you a little bit about myself.  I am 21 years old, somewhat serious given that some kids my age grew up with the Xbox, WII, and playstation, and I have been trying to grow out my pink hair for the past few months.  I am aiming to cut off the last few inches next month if my calculations serve me right and I’ll be a normal blonde.

Like all kids preparing for an interview, I got my friend over and started going through my closet looking for something decent enough to pass as work clothes.  You see, I really just graduated and don’t have the money to splurge on a suit.  So I ended up wearing a short black dress with a red blazer on top.  I put my hair up in a ponytail, put on my black choker for luck, and was ready to go.

I was nervous as hell!  I walked into the office and was ushered to a long corridor with chairs.  I could see that there were three other kids there waiting for their turns and gave the one closest to me a smile.  He smiled back barely.  I could see that he was wearing a suit and started questioning my choice of clothes.  I looked over to the other girl in the row and saw she was wearing a suit too.  It’s not that I looked unprofessional, it’s just that I looked less professional.  Plus, the company is going to give us all a chance based on our qualifications, right?

Wrong.

Amy?

My heart started racing as I nodded and stood up.  The guy who went out of the room was smiling I felt my heart plummet thinking that they’ll choose him over me and it’s a waste of time going in.  I walked in the room.  It was a big room with an elder man sitting on one side.  He looked up and I could have sworn that he cringed.  I wasn’t sure what was the deal but he just added on to my nervousness.

Have a seat, Amy.  He said

I did as I was told.

  • How old are you
  • 21 years old
  • Why do you think we should employ you?
  • because I feel like I would be able to give so much to the organization
  • Do you know anything about the organization?
  • Yes, I read about the latest development of…
  • Yes it was in the news, everyone heard about it.  What about your skills?  Are you able to work long hours?
  • I am willing to work all day if needed
  • Yes yes, that’s what they all say.  What about when you get married and get pregnant, do you think you will be able to work?
  • umm, I haven’t thought that far, sir.  You see, I just graduated a few weeks ago…
  • do you have someone you are in a relationship with?  Wait, scratch that I’m not supposed to ask this.  But you can tell me if you want (he looks at me like he was pushing me to answer)
  • No I am currently single and want to focus on my work
  • So you’d be free to work extra hours for the next, let’s say, two or three years.  Any other special talents you have up your sleeves?
  • I am fluent in French.
  • Is that right?  Well, now we’re talking.  How long have you studied it?
  • Around 12 years
  • Impressive.  Anything else you want to add?  Any questions?
  • Just one, and I ask you because this is my first interview, sir.  How did I do?
  • He sneered, chuckled, and look up at me. Not well enough.

 

Cranky- A Story

Cranky

sad_man_rnd

He wandered into the break room aiming for the coffee.  He didn’t want to be his normal self nor did he care to greet everyone as usual.  He didn’t care to say good morning to all his colleagues and, why should he, he doesn’t owe them anything.

Everyday, he puts on his suit and drives to work.  He passes smiles to everyone and cares, actually cares enough, to ask how they were feeling and listen to their reply.  He knows that this is the correct thing to do and what is expected of him.  But today is different, he doesn’t want to smile, he doesn’t want to say good morning because it’s not a good morning, and he definitely doesn’t want to make small talk, he just wants his coffee.

It started early.  He woke up on the wrong side of the bed and things just kept rolling in the wrong direction, a small snowball escalating to take over his day.

He was usually a kind and sensitive man.

And yet today was different.  The neighbor’s dog was barking at his own shadow from the wee hours of dawn.  He walked away from the window towards his phone just to see that it had 21% battery life; the switch wasn’t turned on!  He turned on the switch quickly forecasting how much battery he would have once he gets out of the house.  He dropped a big blob of shampoo down the drain and immediately felt sorry for himself: come on who does that!?  He’s a respectable man!

Traffic jam on the way to work, a call from the bank informing him that he must present two IDs as a precaution, and his mother called.  All this before 9 a.m., all this without coffee.

He pressed on, ignoring the smiles, ignoring the eager faces waiting for him to ask how they are, ignoring the urge to turn around and never come back.  Pressed on, knowing that this day isn’t a good day regardless of how hard he tries to convince himself.  Knowing that it’s not a good day to be himself, it just doesn’t feel right.  He glanced at the calendar while pouring himself the cup of coffee and froze.

He finally knew.

He finally knew what his soul was trying to tell him: it was time to renew his vows, time to take away another life, time to sacrifice for the master of Death.

  • No, he thought.  I can’t do it anymore.  
  • You must!- the voice came from within, too real to be imaginary
  • But I have a good life here!
  • It is not an option.  You are to find someone and sacrifice him
  • I don’t want to run away again.  I just started a new position!
  • Who gave you the idea that this is a negotiation.  Start moving, start looking, start hunting
  • I gave you everything
  • And I gave you a chance, a do over.  Would you rather I take her away?
  • No!  I’ll do it.  I’ll do it for Rose.
  • Good morning Tom.  Everyone said you were a bit cranky today.  Do you feel better?
  • Alex, could you please help me?  I can’t seem to figure out what’s going on with the server, would you mind coming along?  I would appreciate another set of eyes.
  • Sure thing

Silence.

Followed Her Blindly

Blindly

follow meImage from Follow me Project by Murad Osman https://www.instagram.com/muradosmann/

He blindly followed his heart, throwing caution to the wind and ignoring every alarm in his head.  He followed his heart to the ends of the world knowing that by doing so he leaves behind people who really matter to him; people he is responsible for and people who will get hurt.

But it didn’t matter anymore.  He followed his heart blindly to find himself again after dying a horrible death.  Staying alive but barely.  Barely having enough will to breathe and barely having enough will to wake up in the morning.  His death started when he chose wrong.  When he chose the right path away from her.

She seemed to be the wrong choice.  A woman like no other, a woman with strength and will and passion.  A woman who loved one-too-many-times and got hurt one-too-many-times.  A woman who knew what she wanted and who was not afraid to wear her heart on her sleeve.  A woman whose love surprises like an open dam, where you live in free-fall not knowing if she will be there to catch you… but worth it when she does, and worth it when she doesn’t.  A woman crazy enough to add spice in your life and warm enough to cuddle with in cold nights.

He followed her blindly.  His obsession.  The queen of his heart and the love of his life.  He knew life doesn’t give second chances yet he was willing to take the risk.  He left everything and moved on.  Following her blindly to the ends of the world just to sleep at night with her arms around him.  He knew that she was his soul.  He knew that their ongoing arguments and off-and-on relationship never died because she was The One.

He was never truly alive away from her; she was forever in his heart.  The heart he worked so hard into keeping iced finally figured out a way to melt it.  His heart finally beat again after the cold nights of responsibilities, cold days of correct actions, and cold year of society rules.

He followed her blindly into existence.

Into living.

And into salvation.

Denial- Don’t Punish Him

Denial

The little hand held his with so much love, so much affection.  The simple gesture that says, “I love you,” was enough to keep him living, enough to keep his eyes closed.  He loved his son very much but there was always something that didn’t fit quite right.

He always gave him everything he could, showered him with gifts for any reason and was never able to decline any request.  His son was his everything especially after his wife’s death.

He held onto him remembering his late wife’s last words.  Don’t punish him.  Don’t punish him for what?  He never knew and he didn’t want to know.  He thought maybe she didn’t want him to blame their son for her death but that would just be absurd!  Why would he do such a thing!  He believed in God and has faith in His choices, paths.  God knows best.

But the words were nagging.  He always wondered and they continued to repeat in his mind.  Don’t punish him… Don’t punish him… Don’t punish him…

He saw everything, yet saw nothing.  He saw the differences yet he made up similarities.

 His eyes are blue, were his mother’s eyes blue?  No, but my great grandmother had blue eyes.  

He’s very tall.  Yes, it’s a funny story, my great uncle was known for his height.  He was nicknamed giant.

He looks very much like your best friend Anderson, people could mistake him to be his father.  A smile.

Denial.

Don’t punish him.

100928-Father-And-Son

Don’t Tell

domestic-violence1

It was an ordinary day when Eve woke up to face yet another message from her husband.  She hoped that he hadn’t come home last night for she wasn’t up to cleaning up his mess this early.  It was the first day of school for her children and the last thing she wanted to do was clean up. She just couldn’t fathom mopping another spill nor is she up to picking up another pair of socks.  She just couldn’t.

Everyone knows Eve.

Eve is a typical girl next door.  She loves music, is part of the school’s drama team, paints her nails red on Valentine’s Day, and gets along with everyone.  Eve had dreams of becoming a great lawyer and working in one of the nation’s biggest law firm but her plans got side tracked when she got pregnant with her first child.  It wasn’t the way she wanted to walk down the aisle but her best friend continuously assured her that her little baby bump was hardly noticeable.  On that day, she believed life had so much more to give and her life with Adam was just starting.

Adam and Eve couldn’t go away on their honeymoon because they had to save up for the baby.  Giving birth was an overwhelming experience and Eve was ecstatic.  Her life seemed perfect; her life with Adam seemed perfect.

Seemed.

It started one night over a silly dispute. Adam started arguing and accidentally told Eve he was tricked into marrying her.  Scheming bitch, he called her.  Manipulating whore. My life’s biggest regret. It was different and yet the same every time.  He came up with harsher abuses every time… Then he apologized every time.

Scheming, manipulative, mistake, regret, ugly, fat, stupid… The list goes on.

She fought back once when he started painting their life pitch black because she felt like he needed to understand that she was not who he says she was.  She tried to fight back, to answer, to explain her point of view and to clear her name just to get a hard slap across her face.  She looked at him stunned.  Is this really happening to me, she wondered in bewilderment.  She looked into his eyes to see whether or not her high school sweetheart felt any shame and she saw none.  He started shouting.

Scheming manipulative bitch!

And she cried.

He hunted her insecurities.  Made her question her life and every decision she ever makes.  Removed all things that made her human, started controlling who her friends were and made sure she cuts all ties with everyone who ever mattered to her.  Made sure to turn her into his own toy, his own property.

She said nothing. He slapped her and she said nothing.  I can’t get a divorce, I don’t have a job, how can I support my kids?  He will surely win custody over them and I’ll never see them again.

He kicked her, and she said nothing.  He punched her, and she said nothing.  Say what, and to who?  There was no one around and the small chores he assigned her were mostly in the house; she had to take permission to go out and had to give a full report when she came back…so she usually stayed at home. It was never worth the hassle to conceal her bruises.

Scheming manipulative bitch.

She stopped caring.  She stopped caring how she looked.  She stopped caring to cover her bruises even from her children since they already disrespect her and see the arrangement at home as ‘normal’.
She stopped wondering if there is a different life for her out there. Her reality was obstructed by what she heard and saw everyday.  Abuse. Verbal and physical abuse.

She stopped thinking for herself and took everything told to her as given truths.

She stopped questioning if she was worthy of living let alone loving.

Loving?  Oh he told her he loved her constantly. Before a beating, after a beating, and sometimes during a beating.  Why did you make me do this to you? He would say holding her tight after smacking her.  Why are you doing this to us? Why do you cause us such misery?

Scheming manipulative bitch.

Eve, the girl next door who wanted to work in one of the country’s biggest law firms took up acting instead.  On stage, she paints her nails red for Valentine’s Day, but every day red blood is a part of her attire.  On stage, her name was darling wife but backstage she remains the cause of all of the world’s problems.

Scheming manipulative bitch.

#Break the silence, stop the violence. 

Stamp Of Approval

image

The man gets out of bed in the morning, gets into the shower, gets dressed, grabs breakfast, and gets himself to work. On the way, he wakes up from his sleep and realizes that he was operating on auto-pilot for the first hour in his day which makes him chuckle. He hates his morning routine and wishes sometimes that he didn’t have to get home every night. He would never operate without his senses at work, he doesn’t want to! A big grin spreads across his face as he looks forward to getting into the office and grabbing these never-ending problems by the horns! He recalls the difficult decisions he has to make and his heart skips a beat, excitement rushes through his veins as he accelerates the car trying to get to work faster.

 
Are you cringing yet? Sounds very suspicious to normal people and you know why? Because no such job exists!

 
HR professionals and psychologists have been working on trying to make jobs more interesting and enriching but are still facing issues with the human psyche. Motivation theories and job specifications are constantly changing and turning into market trends which still flop. Dealing with (Baby boomers, Generation X, and Generation Y employees in the workforce) forces us to mix and match them around, imagining boundaries that actually don’t exist and forecasting problems before they happen just to give ourselves something to do. And in the end, studying the overall organizational behavior in midst of globalization and the employees’ cultural background just forces us to lose sleep… And what for? To be able to run our organizations better.

 
Are we overthinking?

 
When I had to finish my two month internship for my degree, it was a well known fact that training in a governmental ministry is the best option for us. Now why is that? Well, it’s less work, a secure job, and good pension. You can’t get fired from a governmental job and you don’t really have to do much anyway. It’s not like you’re expected to.

 
Very interesting, I thought.

 
Well, my internship was in a private stocks/bonds company and I later chose to deny their employment offer and work in a family business (for that story, click on best decision ever). I had to deal with governmental agencies to get many papers done and, with time, I realized that employees in governmental agencies were slacking off.

 
It was a shock to my naivety.

 
Yes, it’s a generalization to say that governmental employees would get to work, have breakfast (in one office thereby leaving their offices), they would chatter about last night’s episodes and anything else worth talking about such as the stock of new clothes one of them got from Thailand and has to market, burn some incense, complain about their colleague who took a sick day off for the fifth time this week, then get a few papers done, go for prayers, have a tea break in one of the offices (thereby leaving their offices again ignoring all frustrated visitors and callers who have been calling all day), get back to their offices, act busy while calling their friends from the office phone, and finally getting ready to go. Yes, I believe that many private sector employees sees this is how a government employee spends his day.

 
Now I am an optimist and there happened to be some changes back in the early 2000s which segregated some functions which were under ministries to new governmental agencies; these were focused on specific tasks such as the labor market regulatory agency (LMRA), and the national health regulatory agency (NHRA). They were new, fresh, and had websites which actually worked and call centers which answered your calls! There is always light in the end of the tunnel.

 
Fast forward to Tuesday January 26, 2016. Our company needs to get the approval from the NHRA to enter some stocks into the country. Although the rules are new so we have to explain to our suppliers why and since when we needed quality assurance papers, we still try to be good citizens and just get the paperwork done. So by 9:30 we reach the NHRA offices with fear and terror in our eyes, praying that we forgot nothing.

 

We are greeted (by greeted I mean looked at as a living creature) by the receptionist who receives the paperwork without as much as a smile. Maybe it’s Botox. She requests samples of the products which we don’t have. We apologize for wasting her highness’s time and run away to a distant location to call the office and ask them to arrange the samples NOW! We wait, seeing people come and go: some are disappointed, others are more disappointed, only one gets through. We sigh wondering if we could be so lucky.

 
We receive the samples and get back to the receptionist who has a problem with smiling. We approach carefully, treading lightly and hoping. We give her the samples. It’s 10:40, she says,’come back tomorrow we cannot give you the stamp of approval today.’

 
‘Why?’ I ask, forgetting where I am. She looks at me like I was Oliver Twist asking for more food.

 
‘We only stamp from 9:00 to 10:30.’

 
Do you, my dear reader, understand what I am saying? They only stamp from 9:00- 10:30 am. The rest of the day there is no stamping done. None whatsoever. Maybe they staple for the next 1 1/2 hours, then next they hole punch. So what really happens to the stamp? Does it get tired? Is that why there is no more stamping after 10:30? Is it religious or can I question it?

 
Based on the stamping rule and the stamping rule only, we need to go back tomorrow and hope it’s within the stamping time.
Jumping through hoops for no reason whatsoever for an approval stamp. Do the HR know what they’re doing and is it specified in the job description?  Are we in the private sectors really overthinking our job?

 
Human Resources, you’re doing it wrong.  Stamping, you’re doing it right.

Nights

 Nights.

When a dear one departs, nights are the worst.  You are left with your own thoughts and memories. You are left with the emptiness of the furniture. You are left with an empty chair, an empty bed, and a lot of clothes.

Clothes and possessions of your loved one. Night time passes by so slowly and you are stuck with clothes … Stuck with a hair brush, a bottle of shampoo, and shoes.

Stuck with a Facebook account you have no password for and you just stare at the screen.  You go back to the closet and run your hand over one of the tops.  You remember the time you bought it together and the many times you discussed throwing it away. You wonder if you have to throw it away now.

You clasp your fist around the fabric as hard as your heart is clenched and a tear rolls down your cheek.

Night.

No one to talk to, no one to help you forget the bedside table with the stain where a coaster should have been.

You look over at the closet again. Too many clothes.

Night time is the worst.

You are left with many unclaimed possessions… Darkness… And clothes.

(الله يمسح على قلبكم بيت عمو مجيد)

Man in the Shadows

man and shadow

Lights on.  Zoom into girl sitting on a bench.

A figure walks towards you, his face is a blur, his features are vague.  To you he seems to be a shadow coming out of the mist.  Then he takes a few more steps and his face becomes a little bit clearer.  You can see his nose and the curl that can only be a smile.  He takes a few more steps and you think he is very handsome.  A handsome man with a handsome face.  A good body and quite tall, you think.

Focus on man’s face.

You realize that his eyes are brown like chocolate.  You stare into them as you speak and in that moment, you have surrendered your life to this man.  In your mind, you already planned your wedding and started picking out names for your children.  In that moment, everything seems to be going right.

Fast forward.

Man’s face in focus.  Everything else out of focus.

Your life with this man is blissful.  You see him everyday and notice the little things about him.  You notice sparks of gold in his eyes and realize that in the sunlight, his brown eyes have more depth.  He is no longer a shadow, he is everything, he is in focus.  You realize a little habit he has and consider it to be plain adorable.  In your mind, he is perfect.  In your mind, your path with him is clear.  His phone number is not only in your favorites but is engraved in your subconscious from the many many times you called him from work.  Your fingers seem to know what numbers to dial.  Your walk next to him and when you sit, you rest your head on his shoulder where it seems to be at home.  You know his thoughts from the look on his face.  You go to new restaurants together and watch the biggest block buster movies while sharing sweet and salty popcorn.  You know his every detail, his every hope and dream and in your mind, you’ve already grown old together and are sitting on the porch outside your home.

Fast forward.  

Sounds of shattering glass.  Dim lighting.

You break up over little things that add on and on and become such a burden to you.  You feel like you heart will explode.  Life as you know it shatters into a million pieces and you feel like there is no life without him.  His face is everywhere.  You can still feel the touch of his hand and you can’t seem to find a place for your head.  You walk without thought and everything is no longer right, everything is vague, everything is wrong.  Only he exists clearly and completely.  Your family, your friends, your career, and you, are no longer clear.  You hold onto his face and hurt.  Your chest is stabbed, the pain is unbearable and your dreams are burnt to ashes.  You look at yourself in the mirror and can’t take your eyes off the emptiness where he used to stand.  You sit for lunch at your usual place but your eyes keep wandering over to the chair next to you.  Your hands pick up the office phone and your fingers start to dial his number.  You suddenly stop and weep. You look through everything he gave you, the key chain, the necklace, the pen, they feel so right to be with you.  Yet so wrong.

Fast forward.  

Hope, soft music.

You start forgetting.  You no longer call his number by mistake and you no longer have your eyes wander at the empty chair.  You fill it with people in your life.  Sisters, brothers, friends and family come into focus.  Your eyes start seeing other things.  You start to smile and laugh.  You start to enjoy your days and you start to focus on your face in the mirror, not the emptiness that once was. You focus on yourself, you pick up a new book, you go to new places and realize that not everything reminds you of him.  You look back at your memories with him five times a day, then four, then three, and then twice, and finally you remember him only when you go to bed.  And one morning, you wake up and he is no longer in your mind and you realize that you have already purchased a new key chain, a necklace, and a pen.  You will wonder how tall he was and what color his eyes were.  Brown?  Hazel?  The details that once were your everything turn to shadows.  The face that was once always in focus starts getting forgotten and blurs into oblivion.  Becomes a shadow that you no longer recognize.  A faceless man in the crowd of life.  No-one important.

Man’s shadow walking into the mist.  

Zoom out.

Lights off. 

A Social Wedding

image

 

Weddings are supposed to be happy occasions.  Its one of the life changing events  when you walk down the aisle and realize that you’re finally becoming whole, finally becoming one with the person your heart always searched for, the person you chose to spend the rest of your your life with.

But for me, walking down the aisle I imagined someone say ‘dead man walking’ and people giving me looks of sadness and dismay.

You see, I’m not getting married because I wanted to, I’m getting married because I have to. For my family, for my social status, and for my sanity.

I found out I was gay when I was a teenager. I know many of you will not accept me for who I am but I faced this reality a long time ago.  I was a homosexual before homosexuality became accepted by society and, to this day, many people in my social circle ignore homosexuals and always have negative things to say about them. So I sit in the cafe with a few of my friends or relatives who have no clue about my entity and they would diss all homosexuals around. It’s not a nice feeling to be forced in the closet, sometimes I wish I would just leave the country and start somewhere new…

But I can’t.

I’ve already established myself and my career and it would break my mother’s heart if I left. I recalled the years I spent in the US, it was the best time of my life. I was who I really was, I didn’t have to change, I didn’t have to hide, and I didn’t have to act.

And today is the grand finale.

At 43, all excuses of delays in marriage were worn out. My sister says she wishes to see me settled, my mother cries telling me she wants to see my children before she dies, and my father says he wants a grandson to carry his name. I gave all excuses I could but it was finally time to give in.

I was set up with a few nice girls.  Some may have even been great friends but I knew that I needed someone who will understand me without telling her. Someone who is getting into this marriage also for a family, social status, and sanity. It happened after I was rejected by someone whose family guessed my sexual tendencies and I honestly couldn’t look them in the eye. I had to make up some excuse but was relieved that she rejected me: maybe I didn’t have to get married anymore.

The next day after the rejection as I was browsing the net, I got a call. It was from one of her friends. I was surprised because we never exchanged more than a few pleasantries.  She started telling me how sorry she felt that I was rejected and what an idiot her friend was. I didn’t quite know what was the purpose of the call because I was too preoccupied that time with dating a new guy.  She continued to call me for the next couple of days and started dropping hints… It took a few weeks but I finally understood.

She didn’t want to be considered a spinster. She wanted to start a family and settle in with someone…anyone. She wanted to invite people over to her new house and play the hostess to grand dinners and parties. She wanted the status of being married more that being married.

So we decided it was the best thing to be done. She never told me that she had any conception of me being gay nor did she ask. I’m not sure if she doesn’t see it or chooses not to see it. I don’t know if I should feel more sorry for her or myself.

A match made in the social circle.

To stop people from guessing what they already know and to establish something from nothing.

Walking down the aisle I see my family, heads up and proud. I see my friends with their wives and children, and I see my new boyfriend.

He knows that this is a great act. I jump up, acting all happy and getting everyone excited.

Then settle. A fake smile pasted on my face…

Dead man walking.

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