“Wanda,” Perkins said. “Do you mind if we take brief walk?”
“I know it’s about my performance,” Wanda said. “If I could explain…”
“Sure,” Perkins said. “That’s why I thought a walk would be nice. The companies atrium is pleasant this time of day and it is quiet. Shall we meet by the fountain in 10 minutes?”
“I think my problem will be temporary,” Wanda said. “I don’t think that will be necessary.”
“10 minutes,” Perkins said firmly and smiled.
Wanda went to the lady’s room. Nervously she straightened her appearance. She heaved a deep breath and walked out of the lady’s room with as much confidence she could muster.
The met at the fountain and politely smiled. Perkins gestured for Wanda to walk with him.
They strolled through the atrium and chatted lightly with Wanda purposely avoiding her problems and any sort of eye contact with Perkins.
“I know there is something wrong that you don’t want to talk about,” Perkins said. “I really don’t want to know anything about your personal life, that would be impolite and rude of me, but please, Wanda, just tell me how you feel.”
Wanda was quiet for five steps. “I feel like I’m alone and adrift at sea and no one is searching for me.”
“That sounds serious,” Perkins said and continued to walk with his brow furled.
They walked around the fountain. Perkins stopped. Wanda took another step and stopped. She turned and waited.
“Please, sit on the bench,” Perkins said.
They sat on a bench.
“Do you recall the boat I bought two years ago?” Perkins said.
“Me and everyone else,” Wanda said. “For six months that’s all you talked about. You brought in brochures and pestered everyone with advice on which color, what motor, what this, and what that. You drove us crazy.” She paused. “I hope this isn’t making you upset or embarrassing you, but you were quite the pest.”
“And then what?” Perkins said.
Wanda thought for a moment and smiled. “Nothing, you just stopped talking about it and may I add none of us were about to bring it up.”
“Well,” Perkins said. “I wasn’t that bad, was I?”
“Oh yes, you were,” Wanda said.
“Well let me tell you why,” Perkins said.
“Sure,” Wanda said, “I’d like to hear why.”