O Captain, My Captain!
If I'd been thinking straight, I'd have stood up on the conference room table and shouted it. But I wasn't thinking straight. Instead, I was tapping Robert lightly on the shoulder to ask for tissues. In a way, I haven't stopped since, and it's been almost three days. Another coworker, sitting two chairs away, and whom I've always thought odd, rolled her chair over to me to put an arm around me. I wasn't the only one crying, but I was the only one doing it silently, letting the blow land, absorbing every pound of force behind the impact, anticipating the bruise. I don't cry in front of people. It's not my way. And I tried so hard not to, but this was too much to hear even though I'd known it was coming for hours ahead of time.
On Tuesday morning, they fired my boss. The words don't seem like much. So what? People leave or get fired all the time. This is different. This is the result of petty, vindictive people acting in their own self interest and saying to hell with the rest of them, and I know who did it. I figured it out a long time ago. Before it even happened. Because I know people. I see the quality of their souls even when they try to hide them. It's my superpower, and while I use it all the time, I rarely unleash its full power. When you know what makes someone tick, you also know what will stop their clock. I want to stop this clock. I want to take my knowledge of this person and spill it blackly over them, sticky and suffocating. People don't like the truth - especially when it's their own - when they've worked so hard to maintain a veneer so shiny it blinds even them in the mirror. I've been gracious, polite, helpful, and kind to this person. Fuck grace. When they return, they will find me cold and unyielding. They may find us all so.
So, what's the big deal? Can't I separate the personal from the professional? Ordinarily, yes. There are exceptions to every rule, and this one's been broken. Professionally, my boss raised me up, gave me my voice back, supported me, advocated for me, and listened. She was mentor, ally, confidante, and cheerleader. She found problems, and ways to solve them, by never ceasing to ask why until it was over. She did that for all of us. We'd been told previously not to ask questions, to trust the system, to accept what was as it was even while everything was wrong. It sat badly with me, and I was disciplined twice for being vocal, so I stopped talking. Personally, she texted me photos of her cats, of her beer, of her adult daughter napping on the couch. She invited me to Thanksgiving with her family when I was an orphan. She knew almost everything, and she was my friend.
My heart is broken, and my job will soon become intolerable. She was the only thing keeping me here, and the wolf in sheep's clothing has taken her from me. I will wait a while for personal reasons, but I will leave, and I will take my inconceivable talent with me because she was the only one able to conceive it. She wants me to go. She wants me to stop being Robin Hood, taking money from an industry I oppose, and do something I love because she believes I can succeed in anything. She's a soul-seer like me, but she overlooks the worst of someone, and this undid us all. I don't blame her. I admire her hope. She's been so apologetic, and I won't allow her to bear this. Nobody will.
O Captain, my Captain! I love you.