A Groundbreaking Commercial Strategy

I could feel their breath on my face. I hated them for making me feel miserable and worthless. I hated them for the four endlessly boring years spent by their sides. A self-imposed lobotomy. For what imaginary faults was I trying to atone? I opened my eyes. I have amazing blue eyes. I was swimming half-unconscious in a pond of cold coffee and broken cups under the stupefied gaze of my colleagues. Could I get a bonus if I pretended this was part of a groundbreaking commercial strategy? My manager George reached down to me.

“Benedetta, can you hear me?”

“What?”

“Are you all right?”

“I think I passed out… I hope I haven’t ruined the meeting.”

“As a matter of fact you have, but it’s you we’re worried about.”

“Me?”

“You’ve fainted again. The third time in one month. Not even

mentioning the coffee cups you’re destroying during your fits. You

should take a break.”

“A break?” I was puzzled.

“A break, indeed.” I remained silent. “Are you with me, Benedetta?”

“Yes. Break. How long?”

“As long as will be needed,” answered George. The conversation was over. The truth is that I was burned-out and depressed, but I could not accept that reality. Nor could I anticipate the disastrous events that would follow in the next days. As George was helping me to stand up, I realized that any resistance would be pointless. I would have to take a break. Atonement process, I thought. So be it. I tried to walk toward my office in an effort to regain composure. I noticed how my dress had turned from bright white to some sort of disillusioned latte macchiato. Exactly how I would also describe my marriage with Tony. Easy, cheesy synchronicity. I was exhausted and sat on the floor. “I have always been a compulsive coffee drinker,” I heard myself saying in an extraordinarily high-pitched voice to the paramedics who had just arrived, seeking comfort in the sympathetic smiles of those strangers dressed in red for the special occasion.

From Shaman Express, Beretta Rousseau, 2018, Chapter 1 "Alive"

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Shaman Express by Beretta Rousseau (2018) is available for purchase online. Visit https://www.benedicterousseau.com/shaman-express for more information.