Friday, March 25, 2011

Red Writing Hood: Pink with Red Sprinkles

The assignment this week is to respond to a picture, fiction or non-fiction, in 600 words. The picture? A scrumptious looking donut, one of many, slathered with pink frosting, dotted with red sprinkles:

"Well, of course," she said sweetly. "Talk to you later." The phone slammed into the cradle as Amy's frustration broke through the facade. If only her boss had any kind of clue what real life looked like. If only he had the slightest inkling of what her life was like. If only she herself had the chutzpah to tell him what her own reality felt like at this moment.

One more assignment. One more level of responsibility. One more series of decisions to be made. Decisions that could mean the difference between pink slips or green lights for people she cared about. Decisions that had her literally tied up in knots just about 24/7. Decisions that felt impossible to make. Amy felt as if she was drowning.

She looked at the piles of paper spread across her desk and wondered to herself how she had gotten to this point. But she knew. She knew she was good at what she did. She knew that she was capable, competent and oh-so-anxious to please, to be seen in a favorable light, to be perceived as the go-to gal, the one who would pick up the pieces, the clean-up batter for the boss. But this?

She hadn't really bargained for this when she took the job. Promotions? Yes, ma'am. That will do nicely. Approval? Of course, please - and lots of it. Acceptance? Uh-huh - Amy's middle name. But...maybe...just could be too good a worker. Is that possible? Could you make yourself so useful that you became indispensable? So malleable that you were perceived to be a different person than you really were?

Is this what she had worked so hard to become? The person who was given the task of firing people? Could all her hard work, role-playing and nice-girl stick-to-itiveness have come to this?

It was just too much. She could not deal. Swiveling her chair away from the mess on her desk, she stood up and strode purposefully out of the office. Tunneling her way down through the building via the high-speed elevator, she emerged on the street level and walked quickly to the corner.

The smell hit her as soon as she rounded the building. Ah, yes! That delicious, heart-warming reminder that everything and anything could be resolved with the ingestion of a soft, warm doughnut. What kind today? she wondered. What wonder-working circle of sugar and fat could she choose for today's agony?

And there it was. Right smack dab in the middle of the case. A lovely, softly melting cake doughnut. Perfectly frosted, and flourished with bright sprinkles. And it was pink - just like she was. Because underneath all that competence, underneath all that hard-working, load-bearing, look-at-me-I'm-superwoman exterior was a soft and shy little girl who simply loved pink.

Without a moment's hesitation, she bought that lovely thing, took it outside in the fresh air with a cup of hot tea and she savored. She savored every single bite. After all, when the feelings rise up and bite you - the best remedy in the world is to stuff them with something divinely good to eat. The quickest, surest way to relief from the bite was to bite back.

Tomorrow, she'd deal with the decisions. Today, she was eating that doughnut.