When I look back on my life, maybe the problem largely speaks to personal revelation as opposed to lacking time for deep introspection. The room falls silent. Everyone’s eyes fix themselves upon me. What have I said? Cort and Bailee whisper something to each other. “I’m sorry. I must’ve zoned out for a moment,” I attempt in a way that I can only presume sounds inadequate. “Oh, darling girl,” the old man —Mr. or Sr. Regrettable High-Seat Lazlo— seated at the head of the enormous conference table feigns, unsympathetic. “We need an answer from you no later than end of day.” Of course, I have no idea to what Old Man Laz refers, and yet, I cannot quite get myself to admit it. Who among them are willing and will tell me later if I ask? “Agreed?” Old Man Laz gurgles in that pompous, faux-debutante accent (everyone knows he was born nameless) he assuredly loves to hear within his own ears. “Yes, absolutely. I understand,” I hear myself skitter with less-than-reasonable assurance. “Yes …” Old Man Laz encourages with canted head. “Yes … Senior. Regrettable. High-Seat. Lazlo,” I oblige. The dozen other members seated at the conference table stare directly in front of their own selves, slightly down at the top of the tablescape within their gaze. “Wonderful!” Old Man Laz exclaims as he slaps the top of the glass and rises out of his oversized armchair. Nearly in unison, the dozen members rise to bid the Senior Regrettable adieu. I, of course, remain seated and merely wave.
Cort, the woman or female peer, since I cannot decide if “woman” suits us, bends down to whisper in my ear, “What the hell are you up to now, Atil?” I stand and gesture my noticing of Bailee a few seats down the row as she makes her way out of the room. My eyes dart to Cort, and I whisper with urgency and vigor, “Nothing. I got lost in thought or something. What does Laz need from me?” “Are you fucking with me?” “No, not intentionally, but I don’t have a fucking clue as to what went on in here today.” Cort rolls her eyes and sighs, “Goddammit. Where were you this time?” “Nowhere. I was just … I don’t know,” I admit, honestly, for some reason. “Well, for fuck’s sake. I’m only going to brief you cause now my ass is on the line.” “Fine. I’m sorry. What does Laz need me to decide?” Cort sighs and lowers her head. She definitely does not want to be the person who breaks whatever she must to me. Still whispering, she solemnly states that, “It’s your father. Sr. Lazlo needs your approval to kick him off the board.” “Why would he think I would be on board with that?” I ask, utterly confused. “Shit, Atil. He explained the whole thing and basically blackmailed you.” “With what?” Hesitant, Cort looks around the room, looking regrettable about what she has to say, and then she sighs and can’t look me in the face, “You.” I take a small step back. “Oh,” I acknowledge. “I understand.” “I’m so sorry, Atil.” “Yea, no it’s fine. It’s not your fault or problem,” I dismiss as if unbothered. “You should go,” I instruct. “Are you sure?” We could go grab a bite,” she offers like a good friend. “No, I’m fine.” “Okay, well, I’m here for you,” she states like a good friend must, even though we both know that she will be the first to switch teams when advantageous. Loyal does not flush out her top-ten-best qualities. “Thanks, but really, I’m fine,” I grin now feeling as if I’m consoling her. “Okay. Well, let me know what you decide, yea?” The gall. “Yes, of course.”
Slowly, Cort turns to excuse herself from my presence and exits the conference room. Clusters of people stand and pretend to talk to each other about business, but too many of them are eyeing me through the glass. “What?” I yell; “If you’re waiting to see me lose it, you’re gonna be standing there all day!” The groups disperse in a panicked frenzy. I sit back down into the mesh, rocking, swivel office chair, lean back and kick my feet up onto the the table. Lyle —one of the many secretaries— approaches the conference room door, eyes me for approval. I give him nothing. Gently, too gently if you ask me, he knocks. “What, Lyle?” I bitterly respond. Genially, Lyle pushes the door open and enters with only his head, “Mr. Montclair would like to meet with you for lunch.” Of course he does. “Where?” “Thirteenth.” “When?” “Your earliest convenience.” “Fine. Tell my father I’ll leave now.” “Yes, ma’am.” Lyle remains at the door. “You may dispatch the message.” Nearly bowing, Lyle backs out of the room and floats away. I swivel in my chair and sigh as I watch the room spin around above me. No … little to nothing resonates with me about the past. No … I see little to no point in planning for, hoping for, or striving toward the future. I spin and spin and spin.