On my way to work, I ducked into M & S to avoid a sudden rainstorm. Out I came, 10 minutes later, with some of those buckets of chocolate rolls, cornflake cakes and flapjacks. We keep a couple of spare tins for cakes and biscuits and I felt it was about my turn to fill them up. “Dig in quick before the chocolate melts,” I told them. The sun had come out and our office gets stuffy by 12pm.
HOWARD was disgusted at my purchase; another classic example of my needy attention seeking.
“Why do you go to such ridiculous lengths to buy friends, Eva? You’ve got no friends here,” he reminded me. “They all fucking talk about you. I hear them. It’s funny.”
“Do they really?” I asked, hurt.
“Grow up,” he said. Now, did that mean yes or no?
I needed sugar anyway. I was giving blood at lunchtime. The mobile blood donor unit had passed me, heading for the community centre, as I walked to work with my cakes. They say the extra sugar can stop you fainting. As I helped myself to another chocolate roll, I explained to HOWARD I had justifiable medical grounds.
“You’ll get massive!” he said. “While you’re in the van get them to check your blood for STDs. Your husband ran off with that woman, which means he slept round while he was with you. If his partner had 20 partners, and the people she slept with had 20 partners, then you’ll be riddled with infection. They’ll have to wash it down the drain to save your feelings. Check the gutter on your way out.”
I made it clear I didn’t have any STDs.
“Probably you’re right. Still, there’s only one thing they can do with blood like yours - and that’s stick it in black pudding. He did an impression of Greg Wallace off Masterchef, “Mmm, this black pudding reminds me of something…tastes like…hang on…it’ll come to me…yes, it’s odd. This black pudding tastes like lesbians.”
As the humidity rose by the second, it was like a different day. Leaving the office at lunch the sunshine was blinding as it bounced off the windows of the blood unit van in the distance. Before long, I’d drunk my squash and was lying on the cot, squeezing my fist to make the blood flow easier. In the background, a radio played Phil Collins’ Groovy Kind of Love; fans stirred the warm air; nurses reassured, blinds were half down to screen the sun. I moved nearer the window and looked up. I watched a plane, a million miles up, crawl across a cloudless sky.
I drifted. I don’t even remember them taking the tube out. My head swam when I stood up. I was faint. It could have been the hot afternoon, but I think it was knowing I had to go back. Suddenly, I couldn’t face an afternoon of ingratitude and insults. I wanted to stay in the van, or take the afternoon off. Anything other than go back there.
I sighed and pulled myself together. I reminded myself I had to have some sympathy for this man threatened by the simplest acts of kindness, who tarnished everything with his sarcasm and cynicism.
Back at my desk a few minutes before HOWARD was due from lunch, I knew I had time. I left a fresh cup of coffee waiting for him with a couple of cornflake cakes on a saucer. Of course, he’ll accuse me of stalking him. He’ll swear they taste like Rohipnol, he’ll probably report me to the PM again for sexual harassment.
These small gestures of friendship towards HOWARD are a lot like giving blood. It’s not comfortable, but I do it anyway. I like to think it does some good in the long run and I’m hoping, like the blood donation, it’s not just a drop in the ocean.
See you next week,
- Bullied By The Boss
- Welcome to my blog. My pen name is Eva James. I'm an aspiring writer paying the bills working as a legal secretary. Relentlessly bullied by my former boss, I looked for another job but the recession hit. Feeling trapped, I recorded everything in this blog, which serves as a revealing insight into workplace bullying. WEEK 1 starts the story and, as the weeks progress, you'll note what starts as banter soon spirals out of control. Sadly, it's all true. Whilst along the way I've found alternative employment, my passion for blogging about workplace bullying remains. Trevor Griffiths, legendary theatre, TV and film writer said at the outset, "I like the writing a lot: smart, cool, placed. If you were prepared/able to take your prick of a boss on, you'd marmelise him."