On the First Day
by Annapurna Sharma
(Vijayawada, AP, India)
“Buzz, buzz, buzz” – the vibrating sound of the alarm clock jerked her awake.
“Oh my! It is already six; I have only an hour to get ready before Sofia picks me up.”
Angela had a quick shower and, drying her hair, she glanced at herself in the mirror. She, Angela Simpson, was the most attractive, pretty and bubbly girl at school. Precisely, her remarkable dressing tactics and short dark hair gave her the smart look. Heeding her mother’s advice, today she chose to wear a black knee-length skirt and an off-white open necked blouse with a simple collar. She was careful to apply minimal makeup – just a dash of pale shaded lipstick. This she paired with black flats. Today was her first day at work and she had purposefully downplayed her dressing sense. A final look at the mirror lifted her spirits – she looked nonchalant and sober.
Downstairs at the breakfast table, biting into her toast, Angela lifted her head as her mother remarked, “Looking right for the job ahead.”
Angela nodded. “It is 7 am already, why is Sofia not here yet?”
As she said this, a car entered the driveway and they could hear the horn honking. Kissing her mother goodbye she rushed outside.
Sofia, her cousin, had offered to give her a lift on her first day at the office.
“Hi dude, looks like you had a sleepless night. Don’t worry; it happens to everyone on the first day.”
“I know, I am a bit nervous.”
As they reached ‘Brad & Brad Co. Ltd’ Angela got down from the car, thanked Sofia, and waved goodbye. Apprehensively she entered the office, reached the reception and handed over her appointment letter.
A tall, lanky guy looked up, “Good morning, Ms Simpson, I am Alex. You can meet the chief accountant, Mr. Brown in his office.”
Angela looked at her watch; it was just 7:55am.
Reading her mind, he said, “Mr. Brown is a stickler for time, he is always early. Just go straight and turn right and you’ll find his office.” Alex smiled as he handed back her letter.
Muttering ‘thanks’; Angela made her way to her boss’s office.
Mr. White had interviewed and appointed her last week. Now who was this Mr. Brown? She knocked on the closed door.
“Come in,” said a gruff voice.
As Angela entered the room, she made a whirlwind tour of the room and its occupant with her eyes. The room looked elegant and the man tenacious.
“Good morning, sir, I am Angela Simpson, the new trainee. Mr. White sent me here.” She handed over her appointment letter.
Big brown bespectacled eyes glared up at her as though she had erred. True to his name, old, bald and brown, she thought.
“Ahem! Sit down. So you are Ms Simpson, who Tony appointed.”
Angela uttered a barely audible “yes sir” and gave him her file which contained her CV and certificates.
“Exemplary study record.”
Quite an appraisal from a man of few words.
“What do you know of our company?”
Angela quickly gave all the details that she had read last night on the company website. She always made good use of the web.
“To add to your info we have very good clients and we make sure to maintain cordial and strong relations. We take good care of their money.”
He pressed the intercom. “Susanna, come in here.”
“In the past ten minutes she had met two polarly opposite people. Alex, young and cheerful; Mr. Brown, oldie-goldie, thought Angela.
“May I come in, sir?” A white haired head appeared in the doorway.
“Ah, yes. This is Angela Simpson, newly hired by Tony for the accounts work. She is under training for a month. I want you to take her to her desk and explain the preliminary details of the job.”
“Hello Angela, welcome to the office. Call me Susie,” said a cheerful lady.
After the initial greetings Angela was led to the interior of the office. At her desk, she was given some
papers to fill up and some brochures and websites of clients to study for the day. Susie chatted continuously about her work and family. Within no time Angela felt at home with an accommodative Susie.
At around 11am Susie brought her a cup of coffee. Sipping the hot drink she felt quite refreshed. It was not like a first day at office with somebody like Susie around. Then a broad shouldered man walked into the office.
“Frank, this is Angela Simpson, our new trainee; Angela, this is Frank Evans, an expert in accountancy.”
“Angela. Eh! Hello,” he said, with a curt handshake. Angela replied back with an equally brief ‘Hi’ to the long-faced man. She watched as Frank walked to his desk. He looked silent, thoughtful and maybe intelligent. She mused, ‘quite an assortment of personalities’ and didn’t feel intimidated any more.
Lunchtime Susie said, “There’s a lovely Italian restaurant down the street. Angela let’s go there, the food is great.”
Angela nodded her head, she knew that she was new to this part of town and had to rely on Susie’s choice. As they entered the place, the man at the reception smiled at Susie and said, “Your regular corner table is waiting for you.”
“Great, I am famished!”
They sat down and ordered their lunch.
After a while –
“Hello, Hello! Madanji, how do you do,” guffawed a big built bearded man with a pink turban. Diners in the quiet Italian restaurant glanced at the new comer. Least concerned about the milieu, within no time the man strode to the corner left table.
“Gwuf, gwuf, gwuf!”
“Aha! At last I got hold of you. You owe me a treat for the promotion you got last week. You can’t escape ‘Jassi the Sardarji’ for long” bullied the big man.
Placing his large hand on the shoulder of the lean Madan,
“Waiter, Waiter!” he shouted.
He had a quick glance at the menu, “Ah! Let’s order ‘chicken parmigiana with lots of cheese and lasagna’, and not to forget a bottle of red wine.”
“Hm! That order will take a long time I suppose” said a meek Madan.
“Ha-ha! I have all the time in the world for a sumptuous meal. Come on man, play the perfect host and let’s enjoy your hierarchical elevation.”
As Jassi and Madan waited for their food, Jassi looked around the dining room and seeing them said, “Hi Susie! Long time, no see.”
“Hi Jassi! I was here last Thursday, but you weren’t around. Bye the way this is my new colleague, Angela. She joined this morning.”
After quick introductions and pleasantries, “Jassi loves food and is a regular here,” commented Susie.
Pasta with tomato sauce and lasagna was served and they started to eat. They could hear voices coming from the corner most table.
“Samantha, you look gorgeous. The lilac hue of the dress has indeed accentuated the glow on your face.”
Susie craned her neck to have a good look.
“Come on Tom, don’t pull my leg. By the way, you too look quite handsome in the green shirt,” blushed a delighted Samantha.
“Thanks, I‘ve a small present for you.”
“Oh really! Show me.”
Tom takes out a small package and deliberately opens it slowly.
“Oooh! A golden brooch! Thank you so much, Tom. I too have a small gift for you,” giggled Samantha.
“Uh-huh! Cuff-links! Thank you dear for the lovely 40th anniversary present,” murmured Tom.
“Hush!” Samantha held Tom’s hand as they gazed lovingly at each other. The waiter brought the champagne they had ordered, but didn’t dare disturb the septuagenarian couple. Smiling at their intense love, he silently placed the bottle on the table and left. They were oblivious to their surroundings as they levitated to a world of their own. For a while they forgot everything including the champagne.
Susie and Angela looked at each other and smiled.
“Thank you Susie! My first day at office went really well and I hope it is the same every other day” said a beaming Angela. *****