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Pulling her coat tighter Xar, a young lady still in her twenties…, sighs as she walks out onto the pavement. Pulling her coat tighter to stop the bitey gust into her neck and down the  back of her slender torso. 

She hails a cab to hurry to work. As the cab pulls by, her colleague jumps in too. How dare he? She was going to look over her notes one more time, before the presentation today. This is a key issue for her, she must succeed in this. She takes a deep breath, not wishing to appear, she is sighing now. 

Kevin looks at her, turning his head, he is an older man, tired of side-stepping, pulling back, when those younger ones, ambitious, talented, demand to get ahead. They always do, can’t wait… 

Xar turns her glance towards Kevin, Quite chilly this morning. Oh no she spoke first again. Why always this need to accommodate, defer, show respect… regardless?

Where to? Cab driver turns his head barely towards them… 

35 Old Ulin, please?

Righty-o mam, his grin turns his head surprisingly towards them, better now. 

Kevin sighs, Quite chilly, yeah, yeah indeed. Wonder if Nesbit will be in this morning?

Nesbit, his old pal, must be wishing to have his paper glanced at, some help… mmh, silently reflects Zar. What an old fashioned name, his papers must be harking back to those long gone or very stale times. 

How about with a sprinkle of joy about tomorrow, instead…?

Is it a whiff of brandy I smell on his coffee breath? I must be imagining this, surely?

Should I take my papers out for a look over, as I planned to? He knows I am to present today. Why hide it? Why do I feel hesitant? She opens her bag, glances at Kevin, pulling them out… with a sigh… It’s not easy,.. this… she reflects. 

Oh, good, you are looking over your papers. It’s a good thing, says he with a pinch of dejectedness in his voice… I’ve done all the looking at them, myself, going a tad terselly.

I suspect he doesn’t like the motion of the cab, goes with the age, I suppose…. And loudly, Hope you don’t mind, do you? Xar finds one last lookover in the cab, highlights some errors and sometimes…

A pause, before Kevin replies: not at all my dear. Grey smile on his face. 

The driver turns towards them, his face weird and grinning. 

Xar puts her papers away. She finds the motion of the cab disturbs her too.  Later on, she would refer to this moment, as the moment it all switched, changed, got lost, altered… What happened..!?

She doesn’t normally mind the motion of the car, well not since she grew up… anyway. 

The shabby, tired middle aged man, sitting next to her, seems to start brightening up. While she experiences sinking into some kind of numbness, loss of contact with her own body.

Kevin did not try to say any more.., just sunk contentedly into himself.

Something shifted here, something shifted here, the thought kept repeating itself, for Xar, but she did not want to dwell on it, whatsoever, no, not know… something shifted… something…

Expecting another sudden gust of chill…, on getting out of the cab…, but instead the air appears oddly still …, unmoving.

Still, no chill… nothing… 

She walks to the lift, Kevin already there, calm and beaming. She sees her reflection off the shiny plate of the lift buttons…, what..?! She runs to the bathroom, as soon as she comes out - oh dear, her face dull, ashen… Lifeless… What happened? Where is my life energy? What is happening to me? What do I do now?

Glass of water, Sam suggested. He is her junior colleague, his face concerned…

By this point, Xar knew she is in … something... Oh, dear, oh, no. What is this exactly and how does one get out of it…? , she had no idea…

There is only an hour to the presentation now. 

Did Kevin just grin at her over his steaming mug, walking back to his desk…, without another look towards her… As if embarrassed…!? About what?

Unable to look again at the greyness of her face in the mirror and… is there a whiff of brandy coming out of my mouth…? My mouth…? What…

Xar wakes up. Thank God, it was only a dream. What a nightmare…

And there is no presentation today. She already presented and all went well. Everyone seemed pleased. 

She arrives at work. Kevin is in hospital, unlikely to return to work. He will be replaced by Sam, her concerned colleague from the dream. Why is there a sense for me something is about to go awry…? 

Sam has been promoted. Her junior colleague is he, …her equal now or … even more senior? She asks Edon. 

There isn’t much to it, really Xar. We have an open structure here and everyone can get ahead fluidly. We have a new client and they asked for Sam to take the lead.  

But they are on my prospect list. Sam doesn’t have a prospect list…, does he?

Well, they asked for Sam.

Ooh, ooh, Xar has a number of hottish clients on her prospect list, really good ones, but they are still only just prospects. The clients she had won previously seem to be cooling down, no major orders of lately.. Why are they all cooling down now? 

Maybe a drink…?

Wake up Xar, pull yourself together. Study your notes… Fight. Liberty might wish to run another campaign soon.., if I can come up with an interesting suggestion. Let’s call them. Hi Innes, how is everything going?

Oh, thank God it’s you, a friendly voice. We are in trouble, but please keep it to yourself. We might be closing down. Xar strains herself to offer some warmth and empathy… for Innes.

Who can I call next? Let’s try Norberta’s. The marketing manager left, the new lady is already happy to be talking to Sam. 

Ashen, with worry…, Xar is confused. 

Sam comes round, hope you don’t mind. You were busy with that presentation, so I decided to ring a few places. Didn’t mean to take anything from you, but you should’ve called them sooner.!

All of a sudden, I miss Kevin, Xar feels…, maybe I need to visit him…

At the Gate hospital, he is barely able to speak. Will recover but is unlikely to return to work. He appears calmer. I almost envy him, Xar surprises herself by this thought. 

Gently she says, You look calmer, Kevin... 

That job is exhausting for me, Xar.  

She tells him about Sam being helpful with her prospects…

Kevin: Oddly, I had a dream a couple of weeks ago… 

About you and Sam, his face grey yet beaming with delight. While I somehow sunk down. You offered me support, a steady hold. (thank you) I am so glad to see you. I now know I’ll be fine, but won’t be going back to work… I needed this to help me see life differently. 

After some pause, Kevin says: you know, my dream isn’t all that surprising, I saw Sam in company with the dodgy cabbie…, more than once. He seems always in that shady man’s company. 

Xar’s head spun by how many degrees and back and again… She almost never takes a cab, not to work, why would she…? No one does. Her dream… the driver… the grin…, Do our dreams help us or send us onto a maze of a journey… of self discovery? Until it all settles back to ordinary, boringly pleasant, once again…? Or am I just soothing myself by wishing for it...?

I am mostly focused on working on our mental well being. Resolution of developmental trauma, in particular, but we all suffer from anxiety, depression and general dissatisfaction in life... I believe that resolving our discomforts and traumas leads to evolutionary progress, in general.

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