Claire was too despondent to notice the carpeted footfalls in her cubicle. Her meeting having ended early, Purva had returned to follow up on their odd conversation from before. Seeing Claire unresponsive, she placed a hand on her shoulder.
ZAP! Static electric discharges were common in their office, but this spark was visible, Claire catching it on the edge of her vision. Both women recoiled from the impact, Purva nearly backing into the cubicle wall, Claire lurching forward in her chair.
Purva spoke immediately in urgent tones, Claire looking up and seeing the concern on the young contractor’s face. Her friend spoke again, and Claire shook her head.
“I’m sorry, I don’t understand — ”
No, she didn’t understand. Claire rolled her chair over to her computer swiftly, called up the company’s web site again, looked at the upper right corner. En Española. She sat back in her chair, relief coming down on her like a soothing waterfall.
“But I thought — you had said earlier — ”
Claire turned to face her confused friend. “I’m sorry, I was just messing with you. I’ve picked up words here and there, and what I said earlier, that was all stuff I prepared ahead of time.” Claire knew her spontaneous tale wouldn’t stand up to scrutiny, but felt certain Purva wouldn’t pursue the matter. “Can I buy you lunch today?”
[End of “Speaking in Tongues.” I’ve enjoyed riding this wave out, long enough to realize I should have spent more time on the relationship between contractors and full-time workers at Claire’s office. That’s the beauty of blogging — get your drafts out there, let the larger ideas evolve over time, set yourself up for success when revising. But for now, onto the next experiment . . .]