Returning Nerves – The Land Without Mosquitos 9A

Jane Summers almost didn’t respond, the answer was so obvious. If anyone other than Gary had asked, she would have rolled her eyes, resumed studying her notes for the IDOT presentation. “Course I’m nervous,” right hand reaching up to the lapel of her jacket, a quick glance at the mirrored glass of the Milwaukee conference room — hair still looked perfect. “Route 20’s a big project. Huge even.”

“C’mon, you know what I meant.” Sitting across from her at the large oval table, Gary drummed his fingers quickly on the tabletop. Jane glanced up at the clock on the wall above Gary’s head; fourteen minutes before the start of the meeting, and they were still alone in the room. “We’re getting the project, IDOT doesn’t schedule these reviews if they have doubts.”

Jane puffed her cheeks, blew. “But if they ask to see the drainage profile — ”

“Arjie’s going to be here, he’ll be driving the presentation.” He pointed, without looking, at the large monitor attached to the room’s north wall. “Anything they want to see, he’ll bring it up on his laptop. You won’t have to say a thing.”

“And that’s supposed to be make me feel good?”

Gary leaned back, his right hand rising to rub his forehead. “We all knew your first day back would be rough.” After two weeks of evening and weekend basic computer training, Jane had all but begged to come in during regular working hours. “But I wouldn’t have — invited — ” Jane could sense he wanted to say allowed — “you to this meeting if I didn’t think you were ready. Besides, Briggs and everyone else at IDOT, they’d think it odd if you weren’t here.”


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