After the Blackout

Chapter 11 of Life After 30

Maya slowly opens her eyes.

She quickly closes them again because the light is too bright and this time she has a throbbing pain in her head.

Her other senses come into play and she realizes that she’s not in her own bed. The sheets are stiffer and she can hear a faint beeping sound. 

Maya squints out of her eyes and sees that she’s in a hospital room. She lifts her head up to look around, but as slow as possible, as to not further agitate the pain in her head. 

Lindsay sits in a chair next to the bed. She’s asleep, her head rolling across her chest. 

“Lindsay, hey Lindsay.”

Lindsay wakes up with a start. 

“Oh Maya! Oh thank god you’re ok!”

“What the hell happened last night?”

“I was going to ask you the same thing.”

“What do you…”

“Your speech? Calling out Karolyn? About to fight Karolyn but knocking into the waiter instead? Do you remember any of that?”

“Shit” Maya says as she puts her hand to her forehead and lies back on the pillow. “Ouch,” when she feels the lump. “That was bad.”

“It was really bad. Rebecca made sure you got to the hospital okay but after that, she was… cursing you out… a lot.”

“Shit, shit, shit. I seriously fucked up.”

“I’m sure if you told her you were sorry… very, very sorry… and apologized to Karolyn too–”

“Fuck Karolyn.”

“Look, I know you don’t like her, she’s not my favorite person either. But last night was kind of out of line. She was really upset.”

“What does she have to be upset about? She has everything. Her life is perfect. So what if I called her out? It’s the truth. Doesn’t change the fact that my life is shit.”

“Your life may not be going the way you want it to, but it’s up to you on how you react to it. And to be honest, you’re not handling it well.”

“Well how should I be handling it, Lindsay? You also seem to have the perfect life, everything is going well for you, just like you wanted. How could you ever relate to me?”

“You know my life hasn’t been easy, Maya. You’re my best friend, you of all people know what I go through.”

Maya doesn’t say anything and she doesn’t look at Lindsay. 

“I’ve always had your back on everything. But this time, I can’t. You’re on your own with this when you come back to work.”

Lindsay gets up to leave. 

“If I knew you were going to be this sour when you woke up, I wouldn’t have stayed for you. I let your parents know that you were here. They’re on their way.”

Once Lindsay closes the door on her way out, Maya lays back down and stares up at the ceiling. 

Shit, I was kind of a bitch. But fuck, what’s going to happen at work when I get back?

A knot of worry forms in her stomach. If she loses this job, there’s no way she’ll be able to afford her place anymore. And she couldn’t dare to think of asking her parents for help. 

And then what is she going to after? Find another publishing house to work in? Would she be able to get hired? Word travels fast in the publishing world, no doubt others have already heard what happened. Not a great look. Especially for someone who had lead editor in her grasp. 

Just when Maya was about to roll over and plant her face in her pillow, her door opens and her parents walk in. 

“Maya! Oh thank god you’re awake!” Her mom rushes to her bed and gives her a hug. Her dad waits for them to break before going in for his hug.

“Hey,” Maya tries to fight back the tears that were about to come before they walked in. 

“We’re so glad you’re okay, honey. Lindsay told us what happened.”

“We can’t believe you got into it with Karolyn Keats.”

“Well, almost. Lindsay said Maya collided with the waiter before they could do anything to each other.”

“Do you blame me though? She was waving her engagement ring all over the place. Not to mention, she was acting like she was better than me for being an author.”

“Oh, she’s getting engaged? That’s nice.”

“No, Mom, it’s not nice. Not nice at all.”

“Why, because she has one but you don’t? Are you still upset with Will for breaking up with you?”

“Well of course she is, their break up was still pretty fresh. Especially after being together for 8 years.”

Maya picks at a snag in the blanket. “I think I still have a right to be upset that Will broke up with me after all that time.” 

“Sure honey, but don’t let it affect other parts of your life. You got a lot of good things going for you.”

“Apparently, after last night I might not even have this job anymore.”

Maya couldn’t look at them when she said this. How could their only daughter fail so miserably all at once?

“Oh Maya, what matters is that you’re okay. You’ll figure out how to get back up again.”

“And we don’t know for sure yet if you lost your job.”

***

“Maya, glad you could make it into work today. Please, have a seat. Let’s chat.”

Rebecca motions for Maya to sit across from her. 

It was Wednesday morning, a few days after the whole incident and a day after Maya was let out from the hospital. She was feeling herself again, but that knot in her stomach had gotten even bigger as she made her way to work. There was no telling how this was going to go. 

Maya had passed Lindsay on her way in, but Lindsay ignored her. Maya was hoping to get an idea of what was going to happen from her but she couldn’t blame Lindsay for still being mad at her for what she said. 

“So,” Rebecca folds her hands over her desk. “I hope you’re feeling better.”

“I am… at least my head is. And the hangover is long gone. But I can’t lie, I was very nervous about coming in today.”

“I have to say, you’re very brave for coming back. I commend you for it.”

Maya nods, but she knows she’s not in the clear just yet.

“I want to let you say whatever you need to say first.”

Maya takes a deep breath and looks at her hands before taking her gaze to Rebecca. 

“I’m so sorry for what happened last night. That is certainly not a reflection of my character or how I would be as an editor, if I still had that opportunity. I regret that I embarrassed Karolyn Keats. She didn’t deserve it. I’ve just been having a tough time grappling with something that happened in my personal life. Some things aren’t going as planned… and I feel like I’m falling behind in life.” 

There’s a heavy pause between them before Rebecca continues. 

“Thank you for your apology. I also hope you’ll take the time to apologize to Karolyn as well. Maya, have you ever heard of the line, ‘Life is what happens to you when you’re busy making other plans’?”

Maya shakes her head. 

“John Lennon wrote that. Things are going to happen to you that’s beyond your control. And it might mess up your plans, your goals. Set you back beyond what you could imagine. But when one door closes, another door opens. You just have to start looking at the other doors.”

Rebecca takes a deep breath. 

“I’m sorry to hear that things aren’t going well in your personal life. But I suggest to start looking around you and find things that you are grateful for first. It could make moving on a lot easier and clearer for you. And I’m sorry to say that after what happened a few nights ago, I can no longer have you at Big Book House. Our authors need to feel comfortable with our editors and unfortunately Tess McHan had her reservations about working with us after your outbreak. And we just can’t lose her.”

The knot in Maya’s stomach traveled to her throat and became a lump. She just needed to keep it together until she got outside the office. 

“I am very sorry to hear that Tess felt that way. But I understand your decision.”

Maya gets up and she offers her hand to Rebecca. 

Rebecca stands up and shakes it. 

“Look at the other doors around you. You’re a very hard worker and a determined person, Maya. I have no doubts that you would bounce back from this in no time.”

“Thank you, Rebecca. It was a pleasure working for you.”

Maya turns and heads out the door, letting one tear escape down her cheek. 

Come back every Friday for the next installment of Life After 30!

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