“Do you have time?”
My supervisor always starts the same way. This is her lead-in to asking me for a quick chat which inevitably is neither quick nor a chat. It is more of a one-way conversation that usually builds to something disciplinary or a request for work on a new project.
Let’s cut the small talk and get to business, I mentally plead with her. I watch the long black hands of the clock over her shoulder. They continue to move forward while I am motionless other than the nodding of my head.
“Yes, I’m listening. Please continue.”
She has spotted my eyes dropping, just ever so briefly, more like an extended blink than anything. She does not appear happy by this observation. She has been talking for seven minutes now. I am still waiting for the main course of this meal to be delivered.
The main course never arrives which cannot be good. I am Gretel in the witch’s trap, she has just reached through the bars and squeezed my arm. Not fat enough yet. She will wait another few days, continue to feed me sweets and check again.
She has the time to wait. She does not know, however, that we do not share this in common. I am at the edge of wrinkle in time, straddling two worlds, and picking sides.
My hourglass is running out of sand and ready to be flipped, so let’s get moving.
Before I leave, I stop at the door with my bags over my shoulder, filled with anxiety so uncontrolled it forms it forms a feathered shape and prepares to take flight.
“Wasn’t there something you needed to discuss?”
“Oh right,” she says, “It can wait.”
Perhaps it can, but can I?