A work of fiction submitted for the prompt: Suitcase
Three pair of undergarments, a wife beater, two pieces of T-shirts, my favourite checked shirt, a pair of shorts, an emergency pair of pants, tiny toiletries, a pair of sandals, an e-reader and its charger, phone and its charger, money to spend and a little extra, necessary papers… I suppose that’s all. Having gotten dressed and some breakfast, I fit them all in my suitcase and set on to the wild.
Then I ran back to the house to grab an umbrella, this time, to actually make my way to the outside world. My mother has a ridiculously good hunch when it comes to the weather. Sometimes I wish she has the same talent for actual clairvoyance instead. A little tip or guidance would never hurt. But I guess it also depends on the delivery and the news itself.
But at least she does not complain for the fact that my profession requires me to be away from her in indefinite distance or time, visiting her in the most random of circumstances.
It is quite hard to find a specific word to describe what I do for a living, but I can tell you that’s about it. It’s only a job that pays quite decently and allows me to read in my spare time, despite still being away from my only living relative and friend. And that is enough to make me feel somewhat content.
The way I work is rather simple. I would receive an email from my superior of the things I need to do in a certain place, the people I should meet to relay her messages, report back to her the results, wait for her confirmation of what to do next (which sometimes takes quite a while), do another set of errands after she replied up to the point where she said the job is done. Then I have days, sometimes weeks or months, off up until I receive another notice.
Name any occupation, and this is probably your job description as an employee working under any division, innit? Difference is, I get sent out and have never been asked to come to the headquarters or any building that signifies a company. Furthermore, most of the time, I need to go to places I have never been to, which is scarier than it is exciting.
Some tasks could be very mundane while some would need me to do a little of background research, which my superior would gladly supply information with. I should say, those four years of university fussing over specializing on a concentration was as much of an utter waste as that orientation phase about “teaching” (not gaining) respect and solidarity (Seriously, I have only kept in touch with the few who think that is total bullshit. Oh, the irony). At least it introduces me to the almighty power of the Internet. I am also forever thankful to that librarian who pointed out the job vacancy to me approaching graduation.
Despite the unfavorable instances like language barrier, eccentric counterparts and getting lost now and then, also the numerous awkward occasions when people question the credibility of the vocation, one of the perks of the job is what I like to call a balanced dynamic of the unknown and the familiar. It allows me an invariable chance to be a total stranger in one place for a period of time, which in turn, oddly let me appreciate the times I spent at home. On the other hand, whenever I get a little skittish over the lack of variety in my habitual suburban life, I am assured an opportunity of exploring the uncharted.
The best part of the work is that I get to do things by myself. But this time, that bit is going to be taken away from me. My boss told me I am going to have a partner this time, and quite frankly, to me it is more terrifying than getting lost in another city or country.
Still, I packed my suitcase for the umpteenth time, not even emitting any signs of fretfulness or inquiry in my reply, which is weird, considering I am not in any way forced into agreeing to do so, nor have I been asked if I am able and willing to work in teams. Wait, that is kind of unusual as well.
But my reluctance of declining working with another person or even only to ask why I got a partner this time called my own attention that I stopped in my tracks to realize I arrived on the train station that will take me to the airport. I decided to quickly mail my superior only to get a short reply of: “She’ll fill you in with the reason why if you’re still in this project. Let me know if you can’t make it.”
I have a number of reasons why I finally hopped on the train.
One, I suppose it’s rude to cancel on the last minute and I don’t know if that will lose me a job. Two, I was already on my way, so might as well. Three, I have my suitcase packed despite the initial reluctance. It’s either I have built an automatic mechanism of responding to the job, turning my personal preference switch off; or I unconsciously have acknowledged that it’s time to leave the familiar and abruptly permit the untrodden–having to work with a partner included.
Looking out from my window seat, it seems that my mother’s immaculate weather forecast is finally tarnished. The sun is as bright as it could be, and I can’t help but wish it is a good omen for this new exposure I signed up for, somewhat willingly.
Well, the day hasn’t ended. My mother can still keep her record flawless as much as the partnership could be doomed from the start.
Still, I board the plane. With less expectation; only my suitcase intact.