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Her fingers hovered over her screen trying to figure out the best possible way to send the text that she’d thought about since leaving her first day at lululemon. Unsure of how to phrase it, but more unsure which excuses to give, she sat restlessly on her couch while Kathie Lee & Hoda played softly. She checked her Apple Watch and noticed how little time she had to finally press send given that her second shift was supposed to begin in less than 45 minutes.
Her hand trembling, she finally crafted what she thought was a suitable excuse to bow out: “Hey Brittany, I don’t think I’m going to make it in today. I’ve been on a personal journey exploring some other opportunities and I just don’t think things are going to work out. I’m sorry! I hope your wedding goes well!”
“Phew,” she thought to herself while standing up to refill her mug from the French press in the kitchen. “What a load off my shoulders.”
But she still felt anxious. Not only did she just give up her ideal discount at her favorite store, she was now faced with having to find another hobby. Or worse yet, another job.
After a long sip of coffee, she deliberated what to do in order to get some stress relief. Her yoga class wasn’t until 6 o’clock that night and every class earlier than that seemed to be full. She walked into her bathroom and opened up her medicine cabinet hoping to find the reprieve she needed. After breaking a full Xanax in half, she again took to her phone to send a text that she dreaded.
“Hey baby,” it began. “I’m not sure what you’re up to for lunch, but would you want to meet me at Cafe Bistro? I’ll pay.”
Knowing that Todd was in a meeting because she synced his schedule with her phone, she knew she needed to send a follow-up text in an effort to not freak him out.
“Oh, I’m not pregnant, btw. I just want to talk to you about something.”
She mulled around the apartment for the next half hour checking her watch incessantly until her phone finally buzzed. It was, in fact, Todd.
“I just had my lunch meeting get canceled,” he responded. “12:30?”
“Perf,” she shot back.
“Wait,” Todd sent immediately following. “I thought you were working today?”
Unsure of what explanation to give him, her hand again shook while trying to formulate any sort of acceptable response to him. She wanted to break the news in person rather than through text messages, so she did the only thing she could possibly do given the circumstances. She lied.
“Oh, no, they crossed me off the schedule because they were overbooked.”
She sat at a two-top next to the window waiting for 12:30 to strike when she knew Todd would arrive. When she finally saw him appear through the lunch rush walking outside the restaurant, she stood up straight in her chair and adjusted everything on the table from the silverware to the waters with lemon.
Todd walked in and immediately saw her sitting to his right. She stood up to hug him (and gave him a kiss on the cheek for good measure).
“Man, it’s busy in here,” Todd remarked while draping his coat over the back of his chair. “Do we have a waitress already?”
“Yep,” she confirmed. “I ordered us some brussel sprouts to start with and I got you that golf drink you like.”
“An Arnold Palmer?” he questioned, only to have her nod approvingly.
Todd, who was clearly slightly uncomfortable for the news he was about to receive, reached across the table and grabbed her hand. He knew the news she had for him couldn’t have been monumental considering the situation they were in. She had repeatedly said that she’d kill him if he ever proposed at a sporting event or in a public restaurant, so he knew that anything coming out of her mouth would be trivial.
“So what’s up?” he finally asked after settling in. “Everything okay?”
“Todd,” she stuttered, “I… I did something bad.”
He tilted his head without saying anything and gestured for her to keep going.
“Sooooooooo,” she dragged out.
His head still tilted, he tried coaxing the words out of her with his eyes and expressions.
“I kind of quit my job today.”
“Uhhhhhhh, what?” he questioned, sitting back in his chair.
“I know, I know,” she assured him.
“How do you kind of quit your job?” he asked while the waitress sat his Arnold Palmer in front of him.
She looked up at the waitress and back at Todd, signaling for him to change his tone and lower his voice so to not make a scene. The waitress could tell she entered the situation at the wrong time and immediately turned to the table behind them and struck up a conversation.
“I just…” she hesitated. “I just… I hated it.”
“Well yeah,” he mocked. “It’s a job, you’re not supposed to love it.”
She jerked her hand away from him and continued, “I just shouldn’t be working retail, Todd. I didn’t get a degree in marketing with a minor in fashion to sell fucking clothes to a bunch of women who don’t even do yoga.”
Todd became visibly uncomfortable in his seat, wiggling back and forth in an endless struggle to get comfortable. Grasping for anything to say that wouldn’t escalate the situation, he finally settled on something that would inevitably escalate the situation: “Well, why’d you quit your marketing job in the first place then?”
She became appalled; beside herself that Todd could say something so insensitive. He could see in her eyes that she was becoming increasingly upset. They were welling up and he knew that he had escalated the situation to a boiling point that was well beyond the capacity of the restaurant.
“Okay,” he followed up in an attempt to recover. “I’m sorry, that was out of line. But I just think you should’ve given this more of a chance, or at least found another job before you quit.”
“I know, Todd,” she stung back. “I’m not happy about this either.”
Todd became more incensed. He knew they were on different wavelengths when it came to the fundamental reasons she quit.
“Can you pick up more barre classes to teach in the mean time? Have you thought about any direction you want to go in?”
Now she was the one who fixed her posture in her chair and sat up straighter than before. “I did not ask you here so you could attack me,” she explained to him with a hushed shout. “I asked you here for some support.”
Todd’s fear of making a scene in the front of the restaurant transformed into acknowledging that a scene had already been made. His annoyance with the entire charade had finally reached the point where saying what was on his mind, no matter the consequences, was more important than sweeping it under the rug for fear of hurting feelings.
“I think I’ve done more than enough supporting of you.”
With her jaw dropped, she reached down and grabbed her handbag from the ground. She stood up, put on her jacket in a disheveled manner, and walked next to him and saying, “How dare you?” before exiting the restaurant heading in the direction of their apartment. .