Unearth Me - "Cancel my 8:00."
I feel as if I have gotten far enough on this project to share something with you. I'm not certain when this will release and neither am I in a rush for it to get out of my hands. I'm simply falling in love with everything about this project and decided that I wanted someone else to do the same.
Welcome to my world. Let the unearthing begin.
I've said it a million times. This piece is unedited and subject to change. See something you like? Comment below.
My morning run had me feeling rejuvenated. After a day like the one I’d had yesterday, I needed the distraction. Walking into Benedict and Associates, my head drifted in the air. The soles and heels of my shoes took turns clacking against the marble flooring as I dashed across the sea of businessmen and businesswomen skating through the lobby – all preoccupied and minding their own.
Busy as Time Square during the New Year celebration, the forefront of the largest co-working space of Huffington Mill injected a lethal dose of arrogance into my veins each time I stepped inside. I’d waited two years to secure a space within the walls, desperate to brush shoulders with the elite, well established, respected and widely connected upperclassmen of business. It wasn’t because I cared for the appearance or what the address would look like on my business card, but it was more of the people the building housed.
My idea clients littered the place, flooding it out. In the last year, I had become their number one source of relief and release. My office doors were pulled apart every hour by someone who paid the hefty note to the Benedicts each month to reside in such an immaculate dwelling.
“Morning, Ms. Sayers.” Marleigh nearly toppled over her own feet.
Rightfully so, the damn things were longer than her body, almost. She’d definitely taken from her father in that department. Nevertheless, she was on my trail as I made my way into my office.
“I have your schedule here. There is a new client. His file is on top of the stack, because he is first up. I’ve completed his intake, so the rest should be a breeze. Mr. Oscar said that he’ll need to cancel his appointment, today.”
Mr. Oscar only showed for approximately 85% of his visits, but I didn’t mind. Money was deposited into my account whether he appeared or not. I wasn’t paid hourly. My patients agreed to strategic plans set for their particular needs that were paid on a monthly basis. Whether they were present or not, my income remained the same.
“Schedule my lunch around the time he was set to come in. Invite Henning. She’d asked during our run, but I knew I was running a tight schedule today.”
“Will do. Anything else?”
“What is it?” Marleigh shoved her glasses up on her face and inhaled, waiting for another order.
“Breathe.” I instructed.
“Oh. Right.” She exhaled, finally. “But, seriously. Anything else?”
“Okay. I’m here if you need me.”
I never needed Marleigh, not during the day, at least. She was my saving grace, but I fend for myself during office hours. It was preparing me for the following day, answering calls and handling administrative work that I needed her for. Bothering her throughout our work day was the last on my agenda. We both preferred it that way.
As her boss, I tried to eliminate that stigma that I was anything more than Marleigh was, or that she was at my beck and call. During my Summer jobs, I hated when my supervisors breathed down my neck my entire shift. It was agonizing. So, I’d made a promise to never dangle over the desk of my employees whenever I was in a position to hire. That’s why I only had one. And Marleigh was all that I’d need. She was heavenly.
“That’ll be all.”
“Have a good day, Ms. Sayers.”
“Same for you, Marleigh.” I nodded before shutting the door to my office.
Unlike the relaxing atmosphere that I had acquired for my clinical room, my office lacked depth. Since moving into the building over a year prior, I hadn’t decided on the perfect color paint or the framing I wanted for the twelve pieces from clients who utilized art as a method of extensive therapy beyond the walls of my practice.
Tossing my load onto the desk, I logged into my computer and pumped up the volume to my morning playlist. Music ranged from Gospel to Trap. Whatever it took keep me rooted and positive about my morning, I was willing to give it a try.
The small water pale that sat beside my window was filled, thanks to Marleigh. While I appreciated her filling it each morning before I came in, I would have a cow if she ever neared my babies without my permission.
“Let’s get you guys hydrated.” I circled the room on the tips of my toes, a broad smile lacing my lips as I marveled over the lives I’d birthed and was keeping amongst the living.
Six pours later and I had returned to my desk. Officially, my day day was in rotation. I opened the folder that I’d been handed earlier, confusion plaguing my features. It was a task getting through the remainder of the folder, because I was too burdened by the name displayed on top of the first page of the file.
Swallowing the wad of saliva that had piled at the back of my throat and pushing it down into my gut, I questioned the nature of my client’s mental wellness and wondered why the hell I’d been chosen to analyze it.
Unable to come to terms with the information staring back at me, I stood from my desk and left the confinement of my office. “Marleigh!” I yelled, drawing closer to her desk.
It wasn’t even eight and I had already gone back on my word. I did need her. I needed her to confirm the mistake that I was sure she’d made when recording information regarding my next client. With the folder in the air, I questioned its accuracy.
“Benedict?” I stammered over my words, losing track of my thoughts. “Heath Benedict? I’m 100% certain that there is only one Heath Benedict on this planet and I know that he hasn’t requested my services. This can only be...”
“You’re right. There…” Marleigh nodded, pushing her red rimmed glasses onto her face, forgetting to exhale, again. “There’s only one of them. The fine one. The one that owns Benedict and Associates.”
“Marleigh. You have to be shitting me. Be sure. Check…”
“I checked once. Then, again, to be sure. I even checked a third time this morning before you came in.” She tilted her head and scrunched her nose. “I’m sorry. At least he’s fun to look at.” She shrugged.
“Jesus.” My shoulders slumped as I returned to my office. Shutting down the music, I knew that no amount of preparation would align me with the day’s task.
Ten minutes later and I was still stuck on the first page of the ten-page file. Massaging my forehead, I concluded that if I couldn’t get through his file then I’d never be able to withstand an hour long session. Deciding against taking his appointment, I rerouted –which was something I had never done in all my years of practice unless I felt threatened by a client’s foul behavior.
“Marleigh.” I shouted, emerging from my office, again.
“Yes?” She dropped the phone that was in her hand at the sound of my voice.
I’d been trying to get her in my office since I hired her to find out what the hell was up with her. She was the most frightened little thing I had ever seen. The signs were there, but she’d made me promise not to analyze her behavior until she was ready to come forward with her past transgressions, and I was trying my hardest.
Yet, moments like these made me wonder who’d betrayed her trust or hurt her in such a way that she could hardly look a person in the eye or was extremely jumpy at the sound of an elevated tone.
“I need you to cancel my 8:00. I won’t be able to see Mr…”
As the words spewed from my mouth, he came storming into my office like a ray of sunshine after a massive storm and weeks of darkness. His youthful eyes and style of dress captured my attention, causing me to lose track of my thoughts. He held me in captivity as I tried covering the comment I had previously began.
“Benedict. Mr. Benedict. Nice of you to make it…” I checked the watch on my arm, “Fifteen minutes ahead of schedule.”
“On time is the closest to late as one could ever get.”
My words hid in the corners of my mouth, daring one another to show face, first. Neither were brave enough, so they all stayed tucked away. Nodding, I twirled on my heels and waved Mr. Benedict into my clinical haven, or at least that’s what I referred to it as. Clients knew it as CH.
Mr. Benedict burned holes into my backside with his intense gazing. I didn’t have to turn around. I could feel the heat from where I stood. As we entered the room, I found my voice and he found someplace other than me to bury his sights.
“Can I get you anything? Water? Soda? Coffee?”
“No, but you can have a seat.” He brushed his beard, spreading his legs and chest. Confidence was his strongest attribute. He wore it well.
“Excuse me?” I questioned, brows desperate to meet one another in the center of my forehead.