March 18

E-x-h-a-u-s-t-e-d.

And it’s only 9:30.

Typical job entry trauma.

Just finished my first “official” meeting with Mark today. I think he was more nervous than I was, as he went to great lengths to let me know that it was his call to hire me. He needs for it to work out well. We’ll see about that.

“I just accepted the call here two months ago,” he explains, and it all makes sense. Of course he’s nervous—this is his first hiring decision. Bad move on his part. I feel really sad for him. It must have shown on my face. This is why Mom always tells me not to think about anything when I am with people, my feelings always show up on my face. I got that gene…

“So how are you doing? Kate showing you the ropes?”

“Yes. Great ropes.” Great ropes?

“If you need anything, just let me know.”

“Yes, thanks.” I can’t wait to escape what feels like the principal’s office and it brings back some memories I’d rather forget. Like the time I managed to superglue my fingers to my desk in eighth grade.

Kate looks up as I cross her office on the way back to mine.

“Everything okay?”

“Fine…fun!” Seriously? I hope she doesn’t guess how awfully scared I was in there today. I need this job for at least a few weeks! And when I leave, I want to leave, not be fired.

“Hello, Natalie,” Tav said as he breezed through the office. “Lovely day out.”

“Ehrm…yes. Lovely.”

He’s gone before I can pretend not to care he’s there. Which, now, he isn’t.

I can hardly say anything to Tavish after what Kate let slip. I don’t know what I’m going to do. He obviously doesn’t respect me enough to treat me like the administrative professional I am, at least for now, and I can’t get over how ruthlessly he turned me down. Not that I was actually there, but I’m sure it was ruthless. He would have had to be ruthless, to turn someone down because they were too good for the job. Which is what overqualified really means, isn’t it?

Oh, I can hold it together, can’t I? Just three months.

Or two.

Yes. Just two months longer…

11:12 a.m.

This is what has literally just happened. In my office, some woman had been pacing the floor. She was all dressed up—cream slacks and jacket, pale pink camisole, blonde hair—designer from top to bottom.

“Who are you?” she demanded. It only got worse from there.

“I’m Natalie. The new secretary.”

I knew I was being carefully sized up. Women do that to each other all the time. Observation done. Details filed away. Back to matter at hand.

“Oh. I’m Faith.”

“Fake?”

She glared at me. I honestly thought she said “fake,” I swear I did. I didn’t mean to blurt it out either. But that’s what happens when I get nervous. Things just flow out of my mouth that I just can’t stop. I remember that time when…but, she was speaking again.

“No, Faith.” She cocked her head to one side and put her hands on her hips. “Like Faith Hill, the Grammy Award-winning country singer?”

“Oh. That’s good. That’s…hi, Faith.”

Faith seemed unsatisfied, but still looked like she walked off a page of Harper’s Bazaar.

“Where are my Bible study materials? I was told they’d be in my box on Sunday.”

“Sorry. I’ll find out.”

“Uh huh.” But it was a sarcastic “uh-huh.” I already don’t like her. Then she gave me that look—you know, the one that makes you feel smaller than your fingernail and you can see the word loser slowly writing itself all over your t-shirt? Welcome to most of my high school years. Ugh. Hate that. And then she gave me a big, fake—or faith, ha ha—smile before walking out.

How should I know where everything is? I’m new here.

Kate walked in as soon as Faith had left. “Who was that?” she asked.

“Faith, like Faith Hill. Something about the Bible study?”

“Ah, Faith. Yes, that would be Faith. She’s very…”

Go on, tell me. But Kate’s not saying anything more. Someone had to break the silence.

“You were saying…?”

But she’s not. She’s just typing. Might as well forget Faith. Kate has already forgotten entirely. I try thinking about the evening I’m going to have with Gwen and Mitch and a couple friends tonight and what we’ll eat for dinner.

9:45 p.m.

E-x-h-a-u-s-t-e-d.

That’s been my word for the day. Gwen kept looking at me during dinner. “Okay?”

“Yes. Lovely.”

“Jim was wondering if you’d like to catch a movie?” Mitch is trying to play matchmaker. I think I either looked horrified or scared because Jim quickly changed the subject and left soon after.

“Who’s Jim?” I must have completely blanked out at the introductions.

“A seminarian friend.”

“Boring,” I replied, and quickly caught myself. Poor Gwen was just trying to help me get over Frankie.

“I’m sorry. I’ll call him soon.” We both knew I was definitely lying. Big lie.

11:15 p.m.

I’ve been replaying the events of the day in my mind. I can’t stand Tav, mostly because he hurt my pride. And my pride is something one shouldn’t hurt. I don’t think you should hurt anyone’s pride. Particularly if she’s your secretary. I’m thinking of all the things I can do to make him look stupid. Not that that would be that hard.

Oh Lord! I’m tired and obsessing. Men just shrug things off and forget about any stuff. We women care more. We’re so loving and loyal. And stupid. I’m stupid about Frankie. Maybe I have a stupid gene where men are concerned.

Guess I wasn’t such fun company tonight. I think working in the church is killing the fun side of my personality. It’s making me so exhausted. There’s that word again. I can see it written on my tombstone—”A short, but exhausted life.”

I am going to die an old maid in a church office.

Midnight

Horrible thought. If I die here, Faith might be asked to do my eulogy. I can’t die here.