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Lucky Girl

Alicia fidgeted in her chair. Her knee bouncing up and down, like a buoy during a storm, her fingers uncontrollably tapping, her teeth nervously chewing on her nails. She looked around at the thirty other women in the room, most older than her. She wondered how they did it. How they looked so flawlessly confident and assured. Sitting with perfect posture in their bright blue tribal print shirts, that looked so beautiful and eclectic on them, but would make her look like a mass of cotton candy.

She suddenly regretted going for the more “casual look” today. She thought her gray t-shirt and navy cardigan would say, “Hi, I’m laid back,” and her ying and yang pendant on it’s long gold chain would say, “but don’t worry, I’m not lazy.” Her black slacks would say, “I’m ready for business,” and her patent leather pumps would say, “I’ll bring a fresh new outlook to your company.” Oh c***, what am I doing here? I have no formal training and no experience. I must be crazy. She thought. People had always told her she was an amazing interior designer. She knew this place was way out of her league though. Buster and Barnabus was the most high-end, Upper East Side, ridiculously overpriced design firm in New York.

She was fresh out of college, and had no other job opportunities. This was a bad idea though, it was just another chance to be disappointed. The glass door was pushed open by anorexic blonde dressed in a pink pant suit, “Uh, next is Alicia Wanger.” She said questionably. Alicia stood up and corrected her, “It’s Wagner.” The woman rolled her eyes, “Whatever, right this way.”

Alicia followed her down the hall, to a room which looked like it served as a conference room. The walls were made of frosted glass. The woman pressed the door open with her bony fingers, “Alicia Wanger, sir.” She said, as she handed him a file. Alicia whispered, “It’s Wagner,” The blonde fired back quietly, “He doesn’t give a c***. Now go.” She said, pushing her forward.

A skinny man in large an vintage glasses slowly wrapped his fingers around a black mug, and took a large gulp. He breathed, “Sit.” She sat immediately, at the other end of the ridiculously large glass table. She adjusted her body weight. Alicia studied his tiny fingers, and the many oversized rings on them. He was wearing an eccentric striped orange shirt, with moss green suspenders, and teal pants. His shoes were brown leather, probably Italian, she thought. She looked around and began to think of things to say. The silence was killing her. She could hear her heartbeat get louder and louder. She said in a soft and controlled voice, “How are you?” He looked up from the file, and rolled his eyes dramatically. “So, Miss. Wagner, I see here you have no schooling in design.”

“Yes, that’s correct.” she said. A sarcastic look washed over his face, “And, you are aware that in the entire time this company has existed, all of the interns hired here have had formal training and more often than not at an ivy league school?”

“I’m aware.” she said. He sighed, “And you thought that you would just come here and give it a shot?” She smiled, “Yeah, why not? I‘m in love with design.” The man shrugged and pursed his lips, “I can only think of a million and five reasons. Well, moving on, you were required to design a room and have them cataloged by a photographer. Were you aware of that?” She laughed, “Yes sir.”

“Well just for laughs lets take a look.” He turned the page on his file. Alicia could see him examining the glossy photographs. His face stayed neutral the entire time. Not displaying any emotion, or opinion. After many grueling moments he looked up, “Well, I think you can leave now.” Alicia stood up quickly. Fuming, she flung the door open and trotted out into the waiting area. She looked at the receptionist, “That interviewer is terrible. He is completely biased and totally rude. You should really think about weather he is qualified to be interviewing your future employees.” The girl began to say something, but Alicia left the building, fully ready to get out of that god awful place.


She sat in a sandwich shop, drinking her fourth cup of coffee. She stared out the window, thinking about a million different things. Her cell phone sitting on the table vibrated. She picked it up and read an email from the Buster and Barnabus Team. It said the names of the two new interns had been posted in the front office of the building. Just for kicks, Alicia left twenty on the table she was sitting at, got into a cab, and traveled to the B&B Office to prove to herself that dreams never come true.


When she arrived in front of the list, there were huge bunches of people crowded around. Of designers crowded around. You could just tell they were designers. They all had that look. You know the look of an over the top personality, who is perfect for this job. But one by one they all walked away sad, and crushed from the list. Alicia walked up to it slowly, careful not to bump anyone. She skimmed an entire paragraph from the company, explaining what they were looking for and that there would be another position open soon. Alicia looked towards the bottom of the page, and spotted her name.

Her name. She saw her name on the list. One of two names. Name that had just received a job at a top design firm. She smiled, and breathed loudly, stunned. She ran to the nearest door she could find, afraid of hurting the feelings of all these hard working people, who had just felt rejection. She flung the door open to the stair sand jumped up in the air. When she stopped, she could hear sobbing. She looked down the flight of stairs at a chunky girl, being consoled by what looked like her friend. The girl sobbed, “I studied eight years a freaking Columbia University for this. I thought I had the job for sure. I took out so many student loans I’m about to suffocate in debt. And some hokey girl who waltzes in from who-knows-where, Indiana just took the job from me! She probably went to community college and had meatloaf Wednesdays with her family, and graduated with a 2.2 from college,” she sobbed, and went on and on about all these things that she had in fact done. Some, were exaggerations, but some, were true.

Feeling terrible she took the elevator to the top floor, and spotted the skinny blonde again. “Hi, uhm I need to talk to the person who interviewed me.” She laughed, “Not gonna happen sweetheart. He has way more important stuff to do that to talk to a girl like…” Alicia ignored her and walked through the door anyway. She jogged down the hall, looking in every office, trying to find his face. She looked in every doorway, hoping it would be his. Finally, she came to the end of the hall, and entered the last, and largest office.

The man who had interviewed her looked up, surprised. She said breathlessly, “Why did you choose me?” He ignored her. He kept reading the document he had in his hands, “Hello? Why did you choose me?” He ignored her again. She now shouted, “What did you see in me? These other girls have trained for years at ivy leagues and you just picked me over them. Why?” He put his paper down slowly and said, “You know in my thirty give years of working here. No one. Not one, interviewee has ever asked how I was doing?” She squinted confused, “Ever?”

“Never,” he continued, “and your portfolio. Your room that you designed was definitely not the best.” He pointed to the pictures, “But, there,” he pointed, “you have pictures of your family on the walls. Of your brothers, and sisters, and your parents, and grandparents.” She cocked her head, “No one else did that?”

“No. No one else did that. Everyone else put pictures of nameless but pretty people on their walls. You put pictures of your family. They’re not perfect. I like that.” She looked at him again, “That’s why you chose me?” He smiled again, “There was one other reason.”

“What was it?” He looked at her with his head tilted, as if trying to figure something out, “I picked you because you were the only one. The only one, who said they were in love with design. You didn’t just love it. You were in love with it. I can’t deny love to someone. Could you?” She swallowed and smiled at him, “Okay then,” she said, turning towards the door, “it was nice to meet you Mr.?” He looked up at her, “Mr. Barnabus. Buster Barnabus.” Her mouth opened, “The Buster Barnabus?” He laughed, “If you say so.” She turned and began to leave, in a daze. He put his hand on her shoulder, “It was nice to meet you Miss. Wagner. You have this thing. One day, your name will be known by everyone. One day, people will call you The Alicia Wagner.” She smiled and walked out the door, shouting over her shoulder, “If you say so.” She was a designer now. Even if she did have a bright blue tribal print shirt, she still felt pretty accomplished.





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This article has 2 comments. Post your own now!

katiemiladie said...
Aug. 3, 2010 at 1:38 am
Thanks so much! I'm flattered.
 
wordnerd54 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
May 16, 2010 at 7:18 pm
I really liked that!  It was sweet, and uplifting in a way.  Nice job.
 
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