Monday, December 20, 2010
My Name is Rebecca..and the joke's on me--
Slowly, every so slowly I reach out to the door handle, feeling the cold metal against my fingers I almost back out. Fear, the fear is so strong I can taste it. A metallic nastiness that fills my mouth and rests on my tongue. I struggled to swallow as I fought the internal emotional roller coaster. My chest grew tight, unable to swallow now unable to breath. Lack of oxygen had me feeling faint. I had to go in, there was no other way. Gently I turned the handle, hoping against hope that the door would open silently. With a barely audible click the door was unlatched, but when I carefully, slowly pushed it made the most horrendous creaking, squeaking, squealing noise I have ever heard a door make. My entrance had been thoroughly announced. Horrified I looked to see every head was turned and every eye in the place was on me. Grinning sheepishly, I ducked my head and eased into the room.
"Welcome!! Welcome!" boomed a voice from somewhere toward the front. I did not look as I frantically tried to find an empty seat as far back at the back as I could. Moving to the metal folding chair I went to sit only to have the thing fold up under me. Hitting my head on the chair, I landed hard on the floor. If only I could just die right here.. if only I could dissolve into a puddle and disappear into a crack in the floor. But there was no such thing happening now. Feeling the hands tightening around my arms I allowed the assistance in standing. Once the chair was back open I carefully eased onto it. I didn't look as I felt one last pat on the back and then all was quiet again.
As the speaker began talking again I wasn't listening, inside my head the words rang over and over again. "I can't do this, I can not do this, why am I here? I can not do this...no one can make me do this.." Realizing the room was silent and filled with something akin to expectancy I lifted my head just enough that I could see through my bangs. Everyone was once again looking at me.
"Can't do what?" asked the person who was obviously the leader of this meeting.
OUT LOUD????????? Yes, I was no definitely going to die now . I had said all of that out loud. I did not have to see my face to know that it was about as deep of a red that anything could ever attempt to accomplish. Forget red as an apple, forget red as a firetruck, forget red as a pickled beet..it was red to the umpth degree. I was doomed.
"Um..I uh, well--" geesh, where did I learn public speaking, in a drunk tank? Okay fine, I had already embarrassed myself beyond redemption, I might as well go the whole nine yards and finish this. Standing I faced the room, refusing to look anyone in the eye I stared at a spider busily spinning a web in the corner of the room, just over the open window. Taking a deep breath I exhaled and began.
"My name is Rebecca...." I waited through the chorus of greetings, determined to finish what I had finally began. When the room was again quiet I continued, "My name is Rebecca.......' breathe, exhale, deep breath.." I move boxes." There. I had said it. I glanced around the room quickly before returning my stare to the ceiling. I had seen no condemnation, no judgment, nothing that would say they thought me dirty. I could do this after all.
"I think it began slowly, when I first took that job, way back over 20 years ago. I had to make sure I had my supplies as there was no utility person. It wasn't difficult, moving a box every now and again, besides, they were light. Barely a hundred pounds at most." I looked down at my hands, flexing my fingers, "I learned quickly how to use a pair of handtrucks efficiently, before I realized it, I was moving boxes on a regular basis. Especially when I earned that promotion. It was so much easier to just grab the handtrucks and move the boxes myself rather than try and hunt down utility people who could be just about anywhere. Before I knew it was I moving boxes up to and above 300 pounds. I had the maneuver down- grab, adjust, deep breath pull and bend. I was even arrogant with it, gloating and smirking at the looks of stunned amazement at my abilities. I was good. I failed though to consider that I had an enemy, and that enemy was time. Day after day I continued to move boxes, small boxes, big boxes, boxes that were barely boxes. I moved them all. When ever anyone needed something in a box, I moved it. When ever the box was for some unknown reason too heavy for me to break back, I would reluctantly call for assistance, but then I'd wave them away and move the box. It was mine- I'd do it myself. When the utility man would get behind for what ever reason, I'd grab the handtrucks and start helping. Breaking back boxes that I should have never considered moving, but I did. Then.." I hesitated, closed my eyes and took a deep breath. Opening my eyes I looked around me. "then, came the day that I pulled back a box, then decided to try and make sure it had all the proper labels, something I should have done first. I lost my grip on the box and it went crashing to the floor. Product went everywhere. I was very thankful it wasn't something like eggs or fine china or explosives. Shoot, explosives would have saved me from this. But, I cleaned up my mess, fixed the box and broke it back..I moved it to the strapper to be made ready for shipping. But something was wrong- I knew it. I had to finally admit that all of the warnings I had ignored for years, all of those need to be careful, let the men do it, you shouldn't they should leave that alone-had finally came to be. I was hurt. and too dang proud to admit it. Now I am- I am here to say.. my name is Rebecca...and I push boxes..and I'm ready to stop."
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