The Interview and the Memory

January 17, 2011
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Sitting in the yellow taxi he looked calm and sharp. His suit was perfectly pressed with a well matched tie, not a thing out of place. But on the inside he was more nervous than he had been as a kid when the principal called him into her office. He tried to focus on staying calm and keep a positive mood, so that the interview would go well, but the scent of dirt and sweat overpowered all his thoughts.

The shining sky scrapers with their seemingly endless rows of windows towered above him as the taxi stopped and he hurriedly exited, while the sounds of thousands of people rushing to work on the sidewalk mixed with the odor of exhaust coming from the other taxis and buses slowly moving down the streets. All of these things were still new to him and he tried to let it all sink in.

Coming from a small town in New Jersey, the city had always been close, but just barely out of his reach. His goal in life had been to make into the tough business world and live in a cosmopolitan place such as this. Leaving his family and friends had been hard, but this promotion would make it all worthwhile.

Thinking ahead, he had purposely asked the cab driver to drop him off a few blocks from the office, which would leave some time to walk calmly, allowing his nerves to subside. Once he finally reached the building all his nervousness flooded back at him. He took a deep breath and pushed open the door, feeling the cool touch of the polished metal on his skin. A cordial, young receptionist gave him his instructions and he made his way up the elevator to the senior manager’s office.

His shock was hard to hide when he entered her office and saw who the manager was. He had expected a smartly dressed woman in her late forties, but what he saw was a much younger woman who just so happened to be his girlfriend from a few years back. He went through the interview just as he had done in those prior, but less important, ones, but he couldn‘t even say how it went. He had no memory of a single question she asked or what his responses had been because his focus had drifted back to the years when they had been together.

It had been the first and only time he had fallen in love, but he was sure she was the one he’d be with for the rest of his life. They spent all their time together and were part of the same group of friends that had stayed together since high school. Everything was perfect, his parents loved her and she got along fantastically with his younger sister and the rest of his family. He had even found the perfect ring and was two thirds of the way through the payments on that one night that changed everything.

During the week he had been stressed with work and knew he had been neglecting her, but his boss had made him so irritated. He had been at his job for two years and the monotony of his life in such a boring town had finally caught up to him. For whatever reason the last straw for him came that night, after getting home from having a few drinks with his friends, when she informed him the that dishwasher was broken.

The fight had been pointless and he blew every little thing that had ever gone wrong between them way out of proportion, but at the time he didn’t care. She stormed out crying and for a reason he couldn’t fathom to this day, he didn’t run after her.

Busy with a transfer to a small job in the city, his time flew by. The next thing he knew, it had been weeks without a single call to or from her. He decided that it was best for them both to go their separate ways, but he kept the ring as a reminder of the love he had lost.

After the breakup he hadn’t dated many women and without any friends where he moved, his job was all he focused on. He worked his way up and up in the business world ranks, but every night before going to bed he thought back to the biggest regret of his life. And every morning he would turn over wishing she was right there beside him, knowing he would probably never even see her again.

No matter what happened with this interview he felt like all he needed was to make it right between them and spend time with her again. Then suddenly it hit him that she had a different last name than the one he remembered and he realized that she had been wearing someone else’s ring on her finger in the office that afternoon.

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