Dreams in Makawee, Chapter 4

Stacy knew that she didn’t have to dress up just to drop off resumes, but she did so anyways in case she got an on-the-spot interview. Both of her parents were at work, but they left her some change so she could take the bus. She walked to the bus stop sort of excited and a little nervous about her potential job prospects. When she came to the bus stop, she noticed that it didn’t have a bench, but she didn’t mind standing while she waited for a while. After waiting for about twenty minutes, she started to get hot and her feet were getting a little sore already. She peered at the schedule and saw that the bus was late. She had no idea how long it would take to finally arrive, which frustrated her, but her mood lifted when she finally saw the bus arrive.

She didn’t have much room on her seat, and she almost fell into the aisle when the bus made a turn. No one else seemed to move as much as she did, which embarrassed her a little. With an expensive divorce that she had to pay for coming up, she knew she wouldn’t be able to get a car for a while, so she figured that she would have to get used to it just as the others had. She didn’t think she could get used to the odor though, a mix of sweat and fuel that she sincerely hoped didn’t rub off on her. She used to take the bus downtown all the time as a kid, but she didn’t have any memory of the nuisances she endured that day! She tried not to focus on the negative aspects of it so she could keep up a pleasant demeanor as she applied for work.

Stacy felt grateful when they finally arrived at her stop, but as soon as she stepped out, she got met by the sweeping humidity that plagued her earlier. As she walked, she really regretted her choice in shoes. It took extra effort to harness her attention to the scene in front of her, but she felt determined to make a good impression that day!

She had always loved the original architecture that the nineteenth century buildings had, and the streets were always teeming with people exploring mom-and-pop shops and unique restaurants. She didn’t know where in this town the prestigious office buildings of Makawee were located, but if she wanted to find a well paying job in the field she had the most experience in, the odds were in her favor of finding it here. She took a deep breath and hoped for the best as she began her search.

After walking for a while, she finally came across a law office. Feeling optimistic, she steeled herself before she entered. The secretary, who had previously been filing her nails, looked startled when Stacy entered. She greeted her, “Can I help you?”

“I just wanted to drop off my resume!” When she handed it to her, she made a point to smile big.

“Oh. We’re not hiring right now.” The secretary went back to filing her nails.

“Oh. Okay.” Trying not to look disappointed, Stacy walked out.

Later, she found an insurance agency, and a man in a suit told her, “Alright, we’ll keep your resume on file and contact you if anything opens up.”

Quite a bit later, she finally found a small accounting agency, but as the secretary took her resume, she saw the secretary look at her disdainfully. When Stacy glanced down at herself, she realized how sweaty she had gotten and tried not to cringe. The secretary told her, “We’ll call you,” but Stacy didn’t feel confident that she had meant that.

After she had combed pretty much all of downtwon Makawee, her feet were killing her. She stopped to rest at a park bench, and while her body felt relieved, her mind certainly was not. She gazed at the pile of resumes she still had with a surge of disappointment. There weren’t a lot of offices out here, and that’s where she had the most experience. She didn’t want to accept that she would have to find work at the bottom in another industry. Entry level jobs didn’t bother her, but she hoped for something that paid higher so she could break free from Hadeon. She sighed sadly.

At that moment, from a small stage on the other side of the park, a jazzy band began to play a song. Stacy turned to see a small crowd had come to enjoy the music. They were gathered there prior to their performance, so she reasoned that the park must have amateur musicians play there pretty regularly. She found herself swaying her body a bit and tapping her foot, and she surprised herself when she discovered that she was actually enjoying herself! The more she thought about it though, the less shocking it became because music had always had a strong hold over her. It was a nice way to end a hard day, and Stacy supposed that if her next downtown job hunt gave her the same sort of results, she would at least have something to look forward to.

That night, Stacy read through the classifieds, and she saw a posting that interested her, but when she checked the bus route map, she saw that, unfortunately, she didn’t have a way to get there. She saw that a bank was accepting resumes and decided she may as well apply there. The next day, it took her about an hour and a half to get there, but she had hoped to get interviewed right away. Instead, they simply took her application and told her they would call her to schedule an interview. Stacy couldn’t believe she had put in so much work for such a short transaction! She wished that this bank had accepted mailed in resumes, which seemed practical for both the bank and the applicants in her mind. Still, since there was nothing she could do about their hiring process, she turned around and headed home.

On Wednesday, she took the bus downtown again, but she felt more confident this time since she wore much more sensible shoes and clothes. She went through the shops and offered to drop off her resume, but the ones who were hiring didn’t want a resume, just an application form. She found it strange but still willingly filled them out. After filling out enough applications, her hand started to cramp from writing so much. Despite her discomfort, she still felt fairly accomplished after applying to almost half of the places that existed downtown! The other half were at the mall, and that was another day’s work in itself. She had some time before her bus was set to arrive, so she finished the day by sitting at that park bench to listen to the live music playing. They played some country songs, a staple of Nashville and its surrounding areas that gave the locals a feeling of home. She took a moment to savor it before she headed to her actual home.

On Thursday, she took the bus to a popular strip mall on the other side of town. When she cut out the restaurants that were there, she only had a few stores to apply to. The manager of a drug store came out to meet her, but his introduction was very brief and returned to his office pretty quickly. As she left and started to head home, it started pouring down rain, so she ran for the cover of the bus stop awning. She felt relieved until a car zoomed by and splashed her! The rain stopped as soon as the bus came, and she became very annoyed with the timing of it all!

On Friday, she entered the mall along with a bustling crowd of shoppers. She had purposely avoided this place because she worked at this mall before in a department store called Emporia during high school and had a horrendous experience. She visited every store but that one and applied to each store that accepted applications. None of the managers met with her, and she filled out so many applications that she pretty much memorized all of the information from her resume, which made her fill out these forms very quickly. Before she knew it, she had come full circle, and the only store left was Emporia. She still had plenty of time before her bus would leave, so with no excuses left, she felt she had no choice but to apply there again.

She filled out an application at the women’s clothing counter, and when she handed her clipboard to the cashier, she instructed, “Wait right here.” Stacy had been through this so many times that she had no expectations that anything of significance would occur when the cashier returned, but to her surprise, the girl invited her, “Come on back!”

Stacy could hardly believe that she had actually landed an interview! She straightened out her outfit and did her best to concentrate on her relevant skills for this job. She had forgotten how small the manager’s office was, and for a moment, she thought the cashier had walked her to a closet. The manager’s desk took up most of the space, and the desk itself had piles of unfiled papers on it. She didn’t recognize the person who sat there, so she assumed the sweet, bubbly woman that made it tolerable to work there before got promoted out. This skinny, weedy man seemed like he didn’t see sunshine much, and his big, thick glasses concentrated hard on the computer screen in front of him. He had a bald spot, but he didn’t seem very old. He finally looked away from the screen and gave her a smile stiff enough to suggest that he didn’t do it regularly. “Miss All-ee-sown?”

“It’s Alyson,” she corrected him. He looked a little affronted, and she inwardly winced. Less than thirty seconds in and she had already screwed up! She didn’t have a good feeling about the rest of the interview!

Dreams in Makawee, Chapter 1

A toast! As of today, April twenty-first, nineteen eighty four, Bancroft Marketing Consultants is officially ten years old!” Hadeon raised his martini glass above his head as he spoke to an exceptionally upscale office full of people in fine suits and gorgeous cocktail dresses. Hadeon certainly seemed to relish the looks of admiration as they watched him on stage, and he flashed them all a wry smile that lit up his already striking features. He feigned a sense of humility by running his smooth, creamy fingers through his slicked back, jet black hair as he told the crowd, “It seems like just yesterday we were just a small business cramped inside of my uncle’s garage…” He paused and saw that the projector screen behind him remained empty. “Sorry folks, there was supposed to be slides to go along with this speech…Stacy!”

Stacy snapped to attention from the back of the room, and she felt her pale cheeks flush. She readjusted the black bow in her dirty blonde, feathered hair as a she rushed towards the front of the stage where Hadeon stood. He stayed smiling, but she could tell by the look in his cold, brown eyes that her blunder angered him. “Sorry!” she apologized as she rushed to get the slides up and running.

Hadeon didn’t address her but instead talked to the crowd, “Ladies and gentlemen, you all recognize my wife and your secretary? Probably not since she doesn’t have food in her hand!” Everyone but Stacy chuckled. She pretended to smile it off, but inwardly, she cringed. She was by no means thin, but she hadn’t considered herself overweight either. This didn’t stop the jokes though, a recurring issue that she ignored at the moment as she attempted to get his slides going. Hadeon asked her, “Why aren’t you wearing lipstick?”

She awkwardly answered, “I did. It must have come off on my drink.”

Stacy saw a flash of anger flicker on his face, but his consciousness of his audience caused him to grin and joke, “Save some for the rest of us, Honey!” He got more laughs, but Stacy didn’t respond. Luckily for her, he didn’t expect one since she got the slides going. A picture of Hadeon and a couple of other guys in office casual wear working at a small desk in a crowded garage displayed, which delighted Hadeon. “Ah, there we are! My company started as a simple door-to-door operation, but even back then I knew one day it would grow into Nashville’s number one marketing firm!” Stacy tried hard to convey interest as he continued his speech, but she mostly listened hard for her next cue for the projector.

Later, with newly applied lipstick, Stacy sipped a drink with a straw as she weaved her way through the room. Unexpectedly, a woman from a very posh circle stopped her, “Oh, hello Missus Bancroft!”

“Oh, hello!” she responded politely.

A man from the group remarked, “Congratulations on your company’s anniversary!”

She replied, “Oh, it’s my husband’s company. I just tag along for the ride!”

“Sounds fabulous!” another woman commented. “You are so lucky! I can only imagine the opulent lifestyle you must lead!”

“No need to imagine! We spend so much time here, you can pretty much see our whole life’s story at the office!” Stacy spoke truthfully, but they laughed as if she had said it in jest.

Hadeon strolled up to them, and the first woman complimented, “Oh, hello Mister Bancroft! Lovely speech you gave!”

“Thank you!” Hadeon flashed her a smile before he very measuredly requested, “Will you all excuse me? I would like to have a word with my wife.”

Stacy tried to act casually, but she knew he wanted to lecture her, so she begrudgingly followed him. He led her to an empty office, and she hung her head as he softly shut the door. He turned around and gave her a look of utter malice, and then he very coldly asked her, “What was that?”

“I’m sorry!” she shamefully apologized.

“We planned this!” Hadeon scolded. “You know what you were supposed to do and when, and yet you left me on that stage all alone! How do you think that made me look?”

“I think it turned out fine,” Stacy expressed with the hopes he would realize she had a point and they would skip the argument.

Hadeon’s mood only darkened. “Image is everything! One of the number principles of my business is always be prepared! I teach it to everyone who works for me, and yet my wife slash secretary didn’t prepare for one of the most important events of the year! This could have costed me a client!”

“I already said I was sorry! What else do you want me to say?” Stacy knew she shouldn’t have snapped like that, but she couldn’t help herself.

“You could act more sorry!” Hadeon growled. “You don’t seem to even care about what you did! No explanations either!”

“I don’t have an explanation!” Stacy scoffed. “I got distracted by a good conversation. I should have paid more attention, but it was nice to have a little bit of fun for once!”

“For once?” Hadeon seethed. “You don’t have fun?I give you everything! A job, a nice house, designer clothes… How could you be so ungrateful?”

“I am grateful!” Stacy shouted vehemently. “You take good care of me, but sometimes I wanna take care of myself! I’ve spent the last five years devoting my whole life to helping you and your business, and sometimes I just need a little break to focus on me! It was just nice to have people care about my opinion! I felt like I could be myself for a little while! Look, I really am sorry that I was late for something important to you, but it would be nice if you recognized what’s important to me sometimes!”

Hadeon roared, “Fine, but now isn’t the time!”

“When is the time?” Stacy retorted. “Tonight is about you, and tomorrow is the Easter picnic, and then we’re back to the office for the next six days! I’m not asking for constant attention, but it would be nice to feel important sometimes! At the very least, if I make a mistake, I don’t wanna get punished like I’m a little kid!”

“I treat you like a little kid ’cause you act like a selfish brat!” Hadeon yelled. “Ugh! Look, I don’t have time for this! We’re going to go back out there and I want you to tell everyone how happy you are with this company to make up for what you did earlier! Got it?” Stacy wiped away a tear of frustration, which just seemed to incense him. “You’re going to cry? Great, you’re gonna smear your mascara! Just tell people you have allergies, which make your eyes-!”

“I’m crying, and all you care about is how it makes you look?” Stacy cried out.

“Don’t interrupt me!” Hadeon’s temper boiled over, causing him to slap her across the face! Stacy stared at him in shock, and even Hadeon appeared surprised by his own action. “I’m so sorry!”

“You hit me!” Stacy rubbed her cheek, which felt sore. Her hands started shaking from the sheer adrenaline of the moment. For a moment, she didn’t know what to do. He tried to caress her face, but she dodged his touch. Suddenly, the truth dawned on her, and she knew exactly what to do. “No! I’m done! I’m leaving!”

“Okay,” Hadeon relented. “I’ll tell everyone you went home sick and-.”

“No,” Stacy corrected him, “I’m done with you! This marriage is over!”

Hadeon laughed derisively at her. “You’re too emotional right now. We’ll talk this over after the party.”

“I’m done talking!” Stacy stated firmly. “I’m not staying in an abusive relationship!”

“It was an accident!” Hadeon rolled his eyes. “Quit being so dramatic! It won’t happen again!”

“My father is a police officer!” Stacy reminded him. “I’ve seen what happens when women stay in abusive relationships. I knew you had become neglectful, but I didn’t know things were this bad! I don’t deserve this! I’m packing my things and leaving!”

Hadeon sneered, “Everything in this house was paid for by me! You’ll leave with nothing!”

“Just my dignity!” Stacy countered him. “That’s all I need! I don’t want anything that reminds me of you anyway! I’ll start over with my own stuff and get a fresh start! Good bye, Hadeon!”

As she started to walk out, Hadeon stopped her by saying, “If you walk out that door, you’re fired! You won’t be able to afford anything on your own! You’ll have no choice but to crawl back to me!”

“I’ll make it on my own!I’m never coming back! Never!” She stormed out, and as she marched towards the exit, she passed by the group she had talked to earlier. One of the women asked, “Are you okay, Missus Bancroft?”

“My name is Stacy!” she exclaimed, and then she walked straight out of there without looking back!