I hate my boss.
When he coyly smiles, his eyes flicker like fireworks. His skin is slightly tanned, like subtle bronze under a pale moonlight. His dark brown eyes bore deep on his face, emphasizing the thick eyelashes dangling from the tips of his eyelids. And God, when he ditches those slacks and boring polo for a pair of black jeans and tight fit black shirt, he’s sex appeal oozes inside and out. Did I already mention how his deep voice trembles my inner psyche when I hear it?
I hate my boss.
He rarely talks but when he does, you would want to submit to his authority. He’s just there at the back of everyone, overseeing the flow of our progress. But boy do we feel stripped naked by his stare, women in particular. He has this wholesomeness behind his overflowing sex appeal, the kind that you can only see but cannot touch.
I hate my boss.
He’s 34 and I’m 22.
By the way, I’m the new hire who has just figured out that I don’t have to shut my mouth around coworkers. I’m getting by real fine. I’m slowly shaking the shyness off my back, replacing it with a fiercer attitude day by day. I also happened to ditch my sneakers and jeans and went for skimpier business clothes. Just so he, the Boss, will take notice of me. I know, it sounds bitchy and desperate.
Speaking of the devil, he has just silently arrived, but we can smell the strong notes of his perfume from our office cubicles. So yeah, we know that he’s here. We all turn our heads toward the clacking sound of his shoes and see him throw glances at us, a black briefcase in one hand and the other in the pocket.
His eyes abruptly catch mine. For the record, it’s the third time he did that since I arrived in here. The first was when he extended a hand upon meeting me, the second was when he called a coworker and I quickly turned my head to look at him, and today was the third. Such rare and precious instances.
He’s giving us the calm smile again, lips pressed together and eyes telling us a warm good morning. I feel that I am surrounded by dandelions, wherever the wind blows, their heads sway along with it. Of course he’s the wind and we are the dandelions.
Now back to our work, I am having trouble finding the right words to punch on my keyboard. His smile spreads across my computer desktop. Such imagination hampers my work. I close my eyes and gently massage my temples with both hands. I did that for two minutes before picking up to where I last dropped things off.
“I don’t like your shoes,” Eula, a female coworker who is sitting beside me says.
“Really? Me too. I think I need to buy a new pair,” I reply innocently.
“No! I was just joking. Don’t take all things seriously. I actually like it.” I am sensing that she’s a little bit of an assertive person, but friendly in a way that you have to know how to filter her jokes when she talks. I like her though.
“Oh, this? Well, this is old, but thanks anyway.”
I was about to proceed typing my thoughts but the idea of my shoes being old steals my attention. I secretly raise my right foot a little and examine the shoe on it with my eyes. Its leather is a lighter shade of brown, almost as brown as a cafe latte and it has a pointed front, too. The tip of the heel has been rubbed off and I can now see a little hint of metal protruding from the inside. Farther up, a small part of the heel is chipped off, but one can hardly notice it. I put my right foot back on the floor, and then it lands in a restrained thud.
“Must be the metal,” I say to myself.
I am still not able to proceed to my work. My old shoes greatly distracted me somehow; it’s a minus from my overall get up. Deciding that I should polish my look again, after being partly disheveled from the morning ride to work, I stand up, grab a medium-sized purse, and excuse myself to the powder room outside our office.
The mirror is wide enough to fill the whole space of the wall in the powder room. I’m glad that I’m alone so I can freely sway my hips and turn around to see every angle of my body. I hope that this vanity won’t last that long. I feel I am going too far.
I uncap my newly-bought lipstick, twisting it meticulously with my long fingers, then stop as the red stick rises halfway from its black tube. With careful dabs, the red lipstick gives even blotches on my pouting lips. I don’t like sliding it on, it’s sticky and heavy to feel on my puckers, making me pout even more. I press and rub my lips together to make sure that I don’t miss some parts.
My purple cotton pencil skirt is already on my midriff, so I tug it down below my waist to add a little covering on my bony legs. It still looks short but I can’t drop it down anymore. It’s too tight on my narrow hipbone now.
I continue my self-musing in the mirror, combing the long frizzy locks of my hair with my hands. “I need to visit the salon one of these days,” I say in my mind. I flatten out the wild strands on my head. Well, they’re not really wild, just hays of newly grown hair.
So much engrossed with myself and bothered by the lack of nutrients on my hair, I nearly had a heart attack when the door of the powder room opened. I inhale deeply, pulling the remaining air from my gut up to the chest. My right hand stretches widely on the small cups of my breasts.
“Oh! I nearly died,” I jokingly say to the lady who entered.
She doesn’t respond and goes about her business. Well, that’s rude. She could have just smirked at me as if to say “Sorry, I’m not sorry.” I glance at her in the mirror and her reflection is telling me to get rid off her as quick as possible. I stop whatever I was doing and leave the powder room feeling unsure of how I really look now. I walk back toward our office.
“I hope my face isn’t too white or my lips aren’t too red, or else I would scare the shit out of my workmates,” I think loudly.
My working station is in the seventh cubicle to the right, second column from the left, and I could see that Basti is already waiting for me. His eyes are mocking me, grazing my form from head to toe. He’s leaning back on his swivel chair with a menacing smile on his face.
“So when are you going to go out with me Leigh?” he asks as he leans toward my seat.
“Never in a million years,” I answer as I sit on my swivel chair. I turn my back against him and proceed to my work. I can hear his manly breathing on one side of my ear. I admit it tickled the little hairs on my nape. I push his chair away though, its wheels screeching on the marble floor.
“God… when can I have you?” he calls back, now stretching his legs as far as they could extend.
“I don’t date with kids,” I flatly say without looking at him.
“Me? A kid? I’m six years older than you…kid!” his voice is ringing on our aisle.
I look at him with deadly eyes, my face a little tilted to the left and reply, “See? That’s the problem. You act like one.” My voice was cold. It sure hurts down at the bottom of his ego.
Surprisingly, he just shrugs my insult off and smiles like an actual child to me. “Someday, I’ll get into your funny bone,” he says, and then he turns to face his computer.
So that’s just a joke as he implied. But I am not buying it, I know guys like him. They’re exploiting your naivety to their own pleasure. He’s loud and rowdy, and all he wants is to date women in bed. As far as I know, my dignity is still intact under my bodily embellishments.
Now, back to where my fingers nearly landed a while ago. I absentmindedly press the heels of my palms on the keyboard, leaving the white page on the monitor with random letters. I’m distracted more than ever. It’s been nearly an hour and I haven’t started the introduction of my research work yet.
Suddenly, the orange icon of our instant messenger on my computer monitor lights up. It’s an indication that a new and unread message has arrived. I lazily hover the cursor over it and open the messenger window.
“Gosh, can you believe this? I’m supposed to pass a budget report this morning but the document is gone from my folder,” the message which is from Kelly says.
I push back my swivel chair, stand up, and look for the face that owned the message. Kelly must have caught a sight of me in her peripheral vision because she automatically waved her hand up at me. Her idiotic smile spreads like wildfire on her face; like it never occurred to her that an important document has just been lost from her files. Worse, why would she tell me such thing instead of telling it to our boss or to whomever she intended to pass the report.
“Kelly, what do you want me to do about it?” I reply in writing, cringing a bit for the slight stupidity she exhibited.
“You’re a close colleague and I figured, maybe you’d be interested to know my dilemma. Was it too much to ask?” she asks again, another folly she never intends to end. Kelly was a finance graduate and I just can’t understand how her education can be so futile with her level of thinking sometimes. Plus, I never expected to know that she treats me as a close colleague. Remember, I’m the new employee.
“Well, it’s a bit off to ask me such thing. Just simply tell the boss you’re going to make another report today and ask for an extension.”
“You know, sometimes, I feel like you don’t really care for me at all,” Kelly replies with a sad yellow-faced emoticon.
“Of course I do, and thank you for considering me as a close colleague.”
She stops sending me messages and I’m beyond relieved. Then, Eula, the one sitting next to me blurts out, “Here goes this psycho again!”
I quickly lean closer to Eula and peek at her computer screen. Kelly’s first message to me was now addressed to Eula. I shake my head off both in frustration and amusement. Indeed, the office is not only hiring sex maniacs, but also the sociopaths. And I wonder if where I could place myself in the two.
A loud bang whips my reverie and when I turn back, I see my boss emerging from his office. It’s only at this moment that I notice his growing beard. Seeing him in that manly appearance stirs whatever fluid I got in my stomach. I finally obtain the motivation to start what I’m doing, but never find the words to fill out the blank spaces on the screen. It’s hard to come up with brilliant ideas when your mind is already clouded with sinful desires.
Every female turns her head again and observes every detail of our boss’ face while walking toward the rear of the office. He’s wearing that playful smirk again, and then suddenly, he stops and throws his first glance of the many at me. Yes, at me! I seem to lose my grip of reality momentarily while catching my breath. I quickly bring my stare on the floor, pretending that I’m looking at my shoes again.
“Hi folks! To the newly-hired employees, please proceed to the boardroom. We’ll have an emergency meeting in a moment,” our boss announces.
“What are we going to discuss boss?” someone asked from a cubicle farthest from me.
“I just want to expound the ambit of our rules here in the office. Don’t worry, it won’t take long.” He walks back in his office to get something while we prepare ourselves for the meeting.
Instead of reaching for my beauty arsenals from my bag, I pull up the guts to ask Eula a question that might help me take a peek inside the life of the smoldering male exec.
“Hey, is he already married?” I ask Eula.
“Why are you interested to know? Do you like him?” Eula asks, pressing her lips together and giving me a mocking look.
“Hmm. Sort of, just an admiration. I like those rugged handsome types.”
“I agree. In fact, these girls around you have been painting their lusts with images of him, including me of course.”
“So… Is he?” I flinch a little, afraid my curiosity would get me into trouble.
“No, married,” I excitedly quip.
Eula stops typing on her keyboard and slightly turns her seat to face me. There’s a hint of objection on her edgy face. “It’s a bit complicated. I heard he’s married and is already a proud father to a son, but recently got divorced. So now, I think he’s enjoying his single life with all sorts of women who belong to his league. And as you can see, we’re not qualified to run for that league,” she says, feeling dejected.
“You can never be so sure of that, but you also have a point,” I reply. I’m almost taken aback of what she just said, but I wonder why my curiosity about him hasn’t died down. In fact, it made for the wildest thoughts in my ever creative subcortex.
“Guys? Can you proceed to the boardroom now? Unless if you don’t want to come, then it’s okay,” our boss says after clearing his throat.
The discussion turned out to be really short, with our boss pacing from left to right in front and stopping for a moment to play some interesting slideshows on the white board. He talked about office policies which are hardly ever practiced as far as my observation is concerned. We don’t have tight regulations though, and that we’re actually saying goodbye to hierarchy and embracing a new work environment structure, which is called holacracy.
Holacracy- it’s the flattening out of the organizational structure with the aim of promoting teamwork in completing tasks. It’s where authority is distributed to each team without ever depending on the boss or whoever owns and runs the company with just a bat of an eye. Everyone is a leader in his own right, and that each opinion is valued and accounted. No wonder our office seems to turn into an idealistic haven for all types of personalities and work ethic. But I must admit that I’m enjoying this non-tensional existence.
Farther down the meeting, he solicited questions and clarifications from us which my other colleagues gamely participated in. And before he concluded the answer to the final question, his eyes suddenly met mine, locking them in as he went down on explaining something that never went inside my ears. I was stunned and just sat there, frozen and braving myself to not adjust my stare away from his. If I did, it would’ve been too obvious that I couldn’t stand the effect he had on me. I know that you know what I mean.
“No more questions?” he asks, still placing his deep inquiring eyes at me.
I start screaming inside, wanting to melt away from this madness, away from the explosion of my senses. I heave a surrendering sigh, giving up all the energy he has injected inside my system. I finally gather the guts to bow my head down and avoid his lingering gaze. Right there and then, he adjourns the meeting.
Right after lunch, as I went back to my working station, Basti was again waiting for me in there. He’s now smiling like he has just discovered something to be proud of. He waves his hand at me while I walk toward him, I mean toward my seat.
“I saw the boss intensely looking at you during the meeting. I’m sensing that I’d regret telling you this, but I just want you to know that whatever that was, it made me want you more,” he says with a menacing smile.
“Basti, do you want me to report you for harassment?” I ask, irked at his stubbornness and irritating resilience.
“Uh, okay. Just pretend I didn’t say that, will you?” he is then out of my sight just like that.
Then I wondered to myself why it happened, the thing back at the meeting. I thought I was only delusional. How dare he to look at me like that, like I’m some kind of an experiment waiting to be dissected? Basti noticed it, too. I won’t be sleeping tightly tonight, or I won’t entirely be able to.
Oh, I hate him more now.
It’s almost five o’clock in the afternoon. A few minutes more and I’d be out in the office to join my friends. We’d probably stop at Russo’s Bistro to fill my complaining stomach with a fancy steak and a glass of beer or two, maybe even more. I don’t want to feel sober before the day ends so I could sleep like the dead tonight. It’s also Friday, and we know what this day brings to thrill-seeking employees.
The thin hands of the orange clock on the wall seem to tick slowly. I am getting impatient by the minute. I want to get out of the office as fast as I can. I know my sudden behavior is odd. One time I’m giddy to see my boss every day in the office, and now I feel like evading his presence once and for all. His stare wasn’t the culprit of me propelling away from him; it was more than that, something I can’t comprehend or explain. It made me nervous for I felt that somehow he’s dangerous to be around me. Whatever that danger is, it’s something I would regret in the end.
“I’ll go ahead of you. I’m not feeling well,” I say to Eula who is on the verge of dozing off.
She jerks her head and slurps and swallows the thin liquid on one side of her lips. “Oh, is it time already?” she asks.
“A few more minutes to go, but I have to go now. Like I said, I’m not feeling well,” I reply.
“Me too, but you go ahead,” Eula says with eyes half open.
I hastily gather my things inside my pink bag and briefly pause to think about leaving my coffee mug or not. Anyway, it’s better off left on my table for the weekend. I have to go or else I would meet his pinning eyes again.
I dash off outside the office and proceed to the elevator without looking back. Once inside the elevator, I dig my hands in my bag and feel the cold casing of my phone. I want to call my friends and urge them to immediately pick me up.
The elevator is about to close, and I can feel the sign of relief in my breathing as the doors slowly slide to each other. And then, just out of thin air, a man’s limb crossed in between the doors, halting the closure of my sanctuary. It was him, the man I dread to like. He effortlessly gets himself inside the metallic carrier and smiles at me for a split second. Fourteen floors down still, and I pray that he’d get off sooner than I would. Well, he is not pressing any button and the remaining lit button was the letter G. “Good grief!”
“So, how’s your first week?” he starts, glancing at me for a moment. Those are the few words that meant to solicit an informal conversation from me for the first time. My cheeks sting, red from the blush I have put and from the blood that seeped its way through my facial veins.
“Actually, it’s my second,” I answer, my palms are starting to sweat cold.
“Oh, I’m sorry. Sometimes I tend to misplace things in my head.”
“It’s great, really… at least for now.”
“Don’t worry. I’ll make sure you’ll be fine at work. Just tell me if things get rough.”
Though I believe he said that in good faith, I still feel that he meant something out of the work context. “Thank you, but I think I can handle the pressure,” I ironically say, actually referring to the pressure that I’m feeling right now.
He turns his head to face me and leans close to me as if to whisper something. “Well sometimes, there are things that go beyond your control. That’s when you need someone’s help. Don’t ever deprive yourself of that.”
Suddenly, I want him to lean even closer, to actually whisper in my ear, to feel his warm breath from the layers of my ears down to the base of my neck. I want that moment to stop, to seize the elevator from descending or even moving, and to make it last forever.
He doesn’t lean closer to my ear; instead, he steps closer beside me. I can feel the hair on my left arm tingle as the static of his touch sent hints of electricity all throughout my body. Then, he does the unthinkable thinking that I am in deep awe of what he just told me.
“If you’re wondering why I said that, it’s because I believe women are sometimes so irrational and emotional. You think you’re really strong to handle things on your own, being the modern women that you all are. Then, the next thing we know, you’re actually crying in one corner, frustrated at how things turned out,” he nonchalantly says, “That’s why we men are here for you in the first place.”
“Isn’t it the other way around?” I automatically utter in disgust. I don’t know whether to say that he’s partially right or totally wrong. All I know is that he’s one big shitty sexist and that made my view of him absolutely upside down. The nerve of him to call women needy! As if this misogynistic bastard’s mother isn’t a woman who bore him into this world.
The elevator then shudders a little and the doors slide open at the 6th floor. Two people come in; men in grey polo shirts and black pants. We fall silent. I am fuming and drastically disappointed. On the other hand, it’s as if nothing he said was insulting. I doubt if he’s aware of that. I want to punch him in the face, grab his balls and squeeze them tight until they dry out like raisins, then he’ll be calling mommy for help.
The elevator then reaches the ground floor. It was like a descent to hell with Lucifer and his minions. He excuses himself and gets out first. As he makes his way to the parking lot, I stare at his back for a long time while standing outside the building. Before he could open the car door, I raise my right fist upside down in front of me and hoist one long middle finger, waving it at him like a baby’s rattle.
I hate him now… a lot and for real.