The alarm sound blared in her mind. Time: 7:05am. Date: March 19th, 2020.
This is it. Sherry thought to herself. Today is the day I finally do it.
She hopped out of bed, feet landing firmly on the hardwood flooring as she strode across to the dresser and began preparing for the morning’s activities. A scene she had so often imagined rolled through her mind once again, the movements, the approach, the agonizingly perfected dialogue. She’d been through every iteration imaginable of this situation in her head, and though the results varied widely, the overall goal was accomplished every time. Every time, she reminded herself.
Sherry shook her head. She’d been so lost in thought that she’d been brushing her teeth for 10 minutes now. She turned on the tap to rinse off her toothbrush, watching the foam spiral and trickle down the sink.
Packing up her bag for the day, she glanced at her empty lunchbox on the counter. I’m too nervous to eat, she thought, besides, if everything goes well, I won’t need lunch today.
She nodded and turned to head towards the door, but paused and shuffled back to slip a granola bar into her purse. Just in case.
And so she began her walk to her workplace. Sometimes she drove her creaky, ancient Volkswagon, but it was only a twenty-minute jog to the office and the sunshine was just too pleasant today to pass up. She was enjoying the fresh, flowery breeze when she felt an urgent buzzing from her bag.
The first message of the day.
Tammy: Sherry! Are you ready?? Today is the day!
Tammy was a dear friend, one of the few she had confided in regarding her situation. Sherry breathed a sigh of relief; she thought it might be Angela contacting her about an assignment she needed to be completed, “ASAP!!” as she always implored in her messages.
But no, this was Tammy, who she had met in book club a few years back and instantly connected with. Tammy was a true optimist, inconceivably capable of finding the bright side of anything, and an ever-supportive friend as Sherry faced this inevitable event head-on.
Sherry: Tammy, thank you so much for your support! I’m on my way to the office now.
Tammy: Great! Let me know how it goes!! You’ve got this!
Sherry smiled at her friend’s enthusiasm, tucking her phone into her jacket pocket as she went on her way. She was continually impressed and grateful for her friends’ support; they had been listening to her debate her decision for several months now, largely without getting frustrated with her anxieties about the issue.
Sherry braced herself before pulling out the phone to peek at the message.
Claire: Hey girl, just wanted to remind you that you’ve got this! Don’t back down!
Another sigh of relief. Claire, Sherry’s best friend since college, was just who she needed right now as she got increasingly close to her office. Claire never had a problem telling her how it is, in an honest, if a little brutal, manner. She always took the time to validate Sherry’s concerns, and sometimes was even more upset about her problems than Sherry was herself. This always made her chuckle a little, but she greatly valued her friend’s passionate nature.
Sherry: Claire! It’s so good to hear from you. I’m VERY nervous, but I am almost to the office now. Wish me luck!
Claire: No matter what happens, just make sure you get what you came for. I’ve got hot tea and a cinnamon roll waiting for you when you’re done!
Sherry smiled again. Claire was known for her baking, and she always knew the perfect comfort food for any moment. She started to tuck her phone away again before it started buzzing frantically. Sherry groaned. Even without looking at the message, she had no doubt it was her boss, Angela.
Angela: SHERRY! WHY AREN’T YOU IN THE OFFICE YET?? THERE IS A REPORT DUE IN TWO HOURS THAT I NEED EDITED ASAP, AND I CAN’T FIND MY FILES IN THE ONLINE DRIVE. YOU MUST’VE MISLABELLED THEM AGAIN.
Honestly, Sherry could not tell if Angela had typed in all capitals to show her anger, or if she had accidentally hit the caps lock button again. She was known to be, shall we say, technologically inadept. Regardless, at this point, Sherry was familiar with her antics. Every day was a new “crisis,” one that almost always could easily be averted or avoided altogether. Likely today she has both forgotten a major deadline for a report until now (or has been procrastinating it because she hates report-writing) and forgotten the name of the file she likely created in the middle of the night in a panic. Angela used to call her at these strange hours in search of files, so Sherry had taken to shutting her phone off completely after returning home from work.
She shook her head and took a deep breath, releasing the stress and frustration she felt with her boss. Not much longer, she thought, as she rounded a corner and turned to face her office building across the street.
I have put in my time for this company. I have done my work, and I have completed my tasks admirably and respectfully. I know my value and I will not be treated this way any longer.
Sherry said this mantra a few times, rolled it around in her mind.
You have done enough, more than enough even. A memory of Tammy’s voice rang through her head.
The way you are being treated is not right. You deserve better. And you will find better. Claire’s words, from the first time they sat down and honestly discussed Sherry’s anxiety with her work.
It’s time to move on. Sherry’s own voice resounded in her head.
“Yes, it’s time to move on.” She spoke the words out loud and felt an immense amount of relief. This time, she will truly and completely quit. Even if Angela yells, or cries, or makes her feel guilty for leaving so suddenly. Enough is enough, and, though it will be hard, she was ready.
Sherry straightened her blouse, and her face settled into a determined expression. As she crossed the street and entered the office door, she knew in her heart that this was right.
After all, what better time for a fresh start than the first day of spring?