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Fiction Inspirational

People called it the golden building for its color during sunsets, when the sun gently caressed its glass windows and reflected off the rest of the city. It was the most important and historical newspaper of the city; the walls could tell amazing stories, that nobody could ever imagined.

1980

Harriet’s desk was at the second floor, cubicle number twenty-six: it was white, perfectly tidy, pen and pencils ordinately placed in the pen holder. It was decorated with one simple photo with her two nieces, Elena and Kiara.

«Here she is, our reporter», said a voice behind her. Dylan looked at her with a mockery look, leaned against the wall. His dark blue suit was totally in contrast with the pale yellow of the walls; Harriet made a scornful face, without answering. «What is it? No jokes today?», he continues, «Did the cat ate your tongue?». Harriet closed her eyes and took a deep breath. She promised herself to no longer care what her colleagues said about her. It was hard enough to be the only woman in a group of men, who felt they were the most powerful human beings in the world: she had to remain lucid and don't be distracted by the wickedness and derisions she was faced every day. She sat down at her desk and picked up the receiver, thus letting his colleague understand that she had no intention of continuing that conversation. Dylan laughed and walked away, continuing to call her “reporter” out loud for everyone to hear.

Harriet clenched her fists and fought back the tears, then pressed the number three of the phone. “Harriet, great job today!”, said Mr. Boston's hoarse, croaking voice. “Thank you, Sir”, she replied politely. Sebastian Boston was a man in his fifties, kind and friendly with all his employees. It was him who decided to took her as the first female reporter in that newspaper that was always filled with men; “We will give a new cut to this place, you’ll see”, he said at the end of their first meeting. Harriet was so proud and happy: she came home to her sister and they celebrated with a bottle of white wine, until fall asleep on the couch.

“I just wanted to tell you though…”, she was continuing, “Don’t. Whatever those boorish colleagues of yours tell you, don’t listen to them. Your story will go around the world, you’ll see”. Mr. Boston was so sure that Harriet calmed down and all her uncertainties were wiped out. She had really started what was to become the most followed scandal shortly thereafter. And she couldn’t be happier: none of her goofy colleagues had ever managed to get a story like hers, she was sure. And the fact that she had made it to the front page and received all those dirty looks was the confirmation of her thinking.

«Don’t think you’re so special». Dylan returned to attack, but with other two goofy colleagues with him. «We know how you get that tip», said Joe, «Being a girl has some benefits, huh?», continued Matt, and then all three of them laughed out loud. Harriet's cheeks turned very red and tears shown up again at the edge of her eyes. «Go away», she said with a low look. «Oh, I’m sorry darling, have we offended you?», said Dylan, and all of them laughed even harder. Harriet decided to stand up, pass through them and screw them up. But, of course, it wasn't that easy. The three boys stood in front of her and surrounded her: she had no escape. And that's why being the only woman in an office full of men was once again a horrible obstacle. «What do you guys want?», she huffed, tired of that situation and most of all, of those boorish men. «Maybe we just want a little taste of what you used for your story», said Matt, touching her long curly hair. Harriet dodged him, moving his hand forcefully and backing away the few centimeters she had available. «I didn't use anything», she defended herself, «And, even so, you can forget it». Dylan and Joe laughed even harder, this time at Matt, and let her pass. What Harriet had learned in those two years working at the newspaper was her strength as a woman: no one could corner her if she showed the teeth and nails of a ferocious tiger.

2020

Yvonne watched, totally enchanted, the sun's rays that stood against the golden building and she thought how perfect that name was: that building seemed really made of gold. The soft golden color lit up the lobby and reflected on the white walls, giving a sense of calm in the middle of the constant coming and going of people. Yvonne headed toward the elevators to reach the second floor, where she was going to meet with her new boss, Sebastian Boston Junior. «Yvonne, welcome! I’m very happy to meet you, finally!», said Mr. Boston, when she came into his office. Yvonne smiled, happy and proud to be there. «Come, I’ll show you your desk». The cubicles seemed little tiny houses, each decorated and personalized: someone had family photos, others had draws of their kids; some cubicles had even decorated the walls with paper of different colors. «How you can see, here everyone is free to express themselves and their opinion, of course», he was saying, «So feel free to do everything you want with your cubicle. Here we are, number twenty-six!». The white desk had only a computer and a mouse and Yvonne could already see herself sit there, with her family photos all around to take her company. «Back in the '80s, my grandfather hired the very first female reporter of this newspaper. And guess what...this was her cubicle». Mr. Boston was very proud to tell that story, the lady from human resources warned her. «You sure know who I'm talking about. Harriet Harris». Yvonne winced, when heard that name. She really was in the same room when one of the most important women in the history of the journalism was, forty years earlier! She was going to share the very same desk! «Oh my God, I can’t believe it, seriously?!». She was amazed. «Harriet Harris was the first woman who exposed all the abuses she was forced to suffer for her position! She is a legend!». Sebastian nodded, smiling, and he pointed her a picture up in the wall behind her back. «Harriet Harris made the history of this newspaper and we are all extremely proud of her. Who knows...maybe you will meet her. She still come in visit us, sometimes!». Sebastian gave her a big smile and moved away, to go back to his office.

Yvonne sat down at her desk and looked around: many years before, the only woman who ran around those hallways was Harriet, while now almost ninety percent of those cubicles were taken by future promising young women reporters. She was wondering what Harriet thought about that; Yvonne was sure, she must be so proud. On the other hand, it was thanks of her stories if the entire newspaper started to change and passed from a very misogynous and sexist management to a something completely different and innovative. It became the first newspaper to have more female reporters than male ones, at the end of the 80s. Her courage pushed millions of women to go out and do other things than just be a mom or a wife; journalism started to give voice to those young women and Harriet was their paladin. One of the reasons why Yvonne was there that day, was Harriet: thanks to her, almost fifty years later, Harriet still encouraging young women like her to get out of the shell and stand up for themselves.

March 18, 2021 18:22

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5 comments

Vrasti 🌺
22:52 Apr 16, 2021

You did a really good job writing a story for this prompt! It is really inspirational and wonderful.

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Giulia S.
09:14 Apr 17, 2021

Thank you! You're so kind :)

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Vrasti 🌺
06:38 Apr 18, 2021

Np! Thanks :D

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Francis Daisy
21:31 Apr 11, 2021

Summon up your inner Harriet and post more stories! You've got this!

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Giulia S.
18:22 Apr 12, 2021

Thank you so much!

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