Retrenchment..........is it possible to survive.

in #fictionlast year

The panic was in the waiting. It came in waves especially at 2 am when Lila would wake up with her heart threatening to burst out of her chest. She would sit up and sip water from her bedside glass, first trying to see if a moth or a bug had fallen into it, using the dim light outside her room.
She, at 41 needed a night light!
At times she thought she was losing her mind.


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The three friends continued to meet officially twice a month but far more often on a casual basis. Every second Tuesday they had a meal together in one of their homes. They had named themselves the 'The Wil, Lil and Vi Survivors' club' after the trio had survived an horrific accident more than a year before.

Lila managed their website from people interested in sharing their survival stories.

Tonight it was Lila's turn to host the dinner.
She was trying out a green curry Thai recipe that infused flavours of ginger with an edge of spice and a touch of heat. She knew that the intoxicating smell would greet them before they got to the front door. She smiled at the thought.

She had a sense of fun with food and had made a Betel leaf prawn starter. Knowing her guests would not enjoy the taste of betel leaves she had substituted small nasturtium leaves, completely edible and a bit peppery.

Pixabay
Wil and Vi always arrived together as they had 'come out' as a couple a month or two before. This event had strangely strengthened the bond between the three of them.

'Yoo hoo,' yodeled Vi in mock imitation of Lila who always sang out a greeting before the front door was opened. Lila claimed that she wanted the inhabitants of the house to know she was a friendly soul and not some bogeyman! She endured the teasing with good grace and continued to announce her arrival with a sing song 'yoo hoo'.

'What's this enticing smell,' asked Wil eagerly knowing Lila had been on a Thai cooking course.
'Hmmm for me to know and you to find out,' she joked.

' Story with the starters for a change,' announced Lila.
Wil poured the deep red wine and sniffed it appreciatively. Wil and Vi gasped with delight at the plate of prawns with a delicate topping on each.

'What's the leaf,' said Vi suspiciously and then laughed, 'oh you clever girl, nasturtium leaves! I used to pick a bunch of the yellow and orange flowers for my teacher when i was 9. I adored Miss Ashton.'

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Lila sat on the edge of her chair, far from relaxed. 'Tonight I'm unveiling MY survival story!' she said a little too loudly.

'What? a second survival story?' asked Wil surprised.

'Yes, and it's been a long time coming,' said Lila seriously.
At the time I thought I would truly die, or at least have a breakdown!'

She told them how she used to have panic attacks in the middle of the night. She told them how once she took a sip of water to try to quiet her pulse beating wildly and drank a bug that had drowned in the uncovered glass.
'At least that night I had something real to panic about, I had to do the gag trick,' she indicated putting her finger down her throat, 'to get it out! Funny after that little episode I calmed down a little. I saw my situation for what it was.'

'And that was?' asked Wil quietly realising how difficult this was for Lila to repeat.

'I was sacked, fired........retrenched they called it. Main point I no longer had a job to go at the beginning of the following term.'

'Ah no,' said Vi softly, 'how awful. What happened?'

'The school I was teaching in had to retrench 3 teachers. The department had a cut in funds from central government and it meant that we had too many teachers for the number of pupils in our school. MY problem was that I never saw it coming. I was completely blind sided.'

She got up and paced the little carpet holding tightly onto her glass of wine as she relived the horror. Wil and Vi took each others' hands.

'I was, if I say so myself, a popular teacher. I adored teaching and teaching English , well it had so many possibilities for fun. I often put my kids on stage to act out their poems, songs they had made up and bits of plays. Even the shyest learner got involved and we had huge fun. I even taught parts of speech,' Wil and Vi pulled long faces at the memory of those dull things, 'with song and dance. My spelling games were legend.'

She turned to face them.'We all knew that 3 teachers had to go and for weeks we tiptoed around, not discussing it and avoiding our colleagues eyes in the corridors. We were 32 teachers in all.

The atmosphere was toxic and the school kids began to feel it and worry too.'
She sighed.
'I was notified by a legal looking letter handed to me by the head mistress. She was a likeable old bat who even enjoyed my little concerts with the children. She whispered "so sorry, come and see me after school," and walked rapidly away, in tears I thought.'

Lila took a sip of wine to strengthen her.

'A fellow member of staff told me in her brutal confrontational manner that "surely I must have seen it coming - you have a split post, you teach English and Bible study. The department is going to phase out the 'unnecessary bible' and you with it. Just like that, and she flicked her fingers. I fell into a nearby armchair in the staff room with the shock of what she said and one of my friends said "hang on a minute that's pretty cruel Dorice."
"Not at all," claimed the sharp witted Dorice, "that was what the board HAD to look at, It was the only way to be as 'fair' as they could be.
It is not a measure of your value as a teacher. You are superb in the classroom and all the kids adore you," she added coming up to me and putting a hand on my shoulder.

"Look at the other two, discarded like crumpled lunch wrappings...... also split posts - teaching two subjects. Mr Dominy will go as they will phase out music and so will Mrs Twaddle for the same reason.'

Dorice in her perspicacious way gave me a little comfort. I told her that it was probably a good thing as it would force me into writing that book on' English teaching techniques' that I'd been asked to do by a well known publisher.

But my spirit was broken with the weeping of my school kids. A couple of them clung to me and demanded that I refuse to go!
Heck it was AWFUL. Just AWFUL. That last day..................."

LIla sniffed loudly and had a deep sip of wine.

'I did write the book. It was the loneliest thing I've ever done.
I was so depressed that Bernard, my partner, told me he was taking a job in New Zealand and didn't invite me to go. I understood. In his place I wouldn't have taken me either.
I couldn't bear to live with myself, actually!
I made some good money though...........I had a healthy bank balance. BUT that day on the coach before the accident I was planning to end it all. I had the pills and the vodka in my bag - that burned up in when the coach caught fire.'

She turned around to them, put her glass on the coffee table, took their clasped hands and said, 'it was you two who turned my life around. Seeing us crawling around broken and bleeding from that wreck with Vi shouting orders to Wil and me how we were going to kick that emergency window out.............whew, I got a fresh perspective....a fresh
vision.
pixabay

After the palaver of the hospital and I realised that we 3 were going to stick together and recover from that ghastly experience, my heart physically changed. I felt it. From being sluggish and slow it quickened. I don't know if it is medically possible, but I felt it.'
The three of them all had tears in their eyes as they stared from one to the other in awe.
'Thank God for you two,' finished Lila sincerely.
Now, let's have that Thai green curry!
Perfection on a plate I hope,' she joked as she got up.

'Let's have a toast first Lila.' said Wil drawing Vi up and Lila into a small circle. With their free arms around one another they toasted "to the Wil, Lil and Vi survivors' club,' and they chinked their glasses together and laughed with the fresh joy that simply came upon them.

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A nice hearty story!

Yeah... You really feel like shit when you get laid off. Especially if you busted your butt for a company. That's how I became a contractor. In this type of working contract, you don't feel betrayed. You know ahead of time that at the end of the contract you will leave.

About 15 years ago I also experienced a bad case of a panic attack. I thought I was going to die, as the symptoms reminded a heart attack. But a friend of mine is a massage therapist of the extra class. He pulled me out of those attacks. Then, as strange as it might seem, a lady psychic was able to extinguish it completely, working over skype. I even wrote a story about it somewhere in the past. It was quite an intrigue as she told me something about my past life. Not sure whether to believe it or not, but the fact remains a fact. After her sessions, I never experienced panic attacks anymore. :)

You have used the word 'EXTRA', in an unusual place. It works!
It makes me think of extraordinary and I'm always on the look out for something different. Good shot!
May I ask what sort of contracts and are you still working full time or a happily retired person like me.............enjoying her life enormously.

I have had a mild panic attack and the feeling that your heart is bouncing about in the confines of its (rib) cage is AWFUL.
As for the psychic I do believe that some are able to connect spiritually with the 'other' side. It makes me nervous because I think it is possibly the 'dark' side.
I like to play it safe with God the Father/Son and Holy Ghost. I prefer my ghosts, pure. No panic attacks lurk with that back up team I find.
I have drawn my own 'logo' to draw the reader's attention to the fact that the post is about the English language and having fun with words.
Please be open and honest and when I get it up today or tomorrow, let me know what you think?
I'm also curious to know what your first language is?
I first though it might be Spanish but now think it is Russian?!
(Are you amused by my curiousity.....I do know it killed the cat!

I am a programmer and am semi-retired. By "semi" I mean that I still am working on several of the projects, especially where certain problems occur and they need a "data plumber" to fix them. ))) The projects that I usually involved in lately are the ones when the company is moving from the old project to a new one and need to migrate its database from one format to another one. I also work with my older son on some of his Internet-based projects, which is pulling some stock and crypto data from public sites and running some statistical calculations with that data.

I am not sure about the "dark side". The way she explained to me it works is she accesses my aura and sees where my colors are deficient. Then she was getting inside my aura and with my help was trying to fix it - in essence was trying to balance my energy.

I am not "religious" in a sense of being affiliated with one particular denomination. But I have a concept of the higher power, which I came to realize doing one interesting mathematical derivation.

You are not at all having an overzealous curiosity. My first language is indeed Russian and I am currently participating with the site that is similar to Steemit and is called Golos (which means Voice) My knowledge of Spanish is in its embryo state. Even though it would be easier to learn it as it is closer to Russian in spelling paradigm, emotional expression, and semantic model. But I simply don't have the necessity to do it. I'd better improve my English. )))

Sure I will tell you my opinion for what its worth on your logo.

Cheers

I've never met someone who is Russian - I am honoured to know you and to exchange 'chats' with you especially as I find maths (though utterly and truthfully captivating) my weakest point.
But I am an all time learner and enjoy reading about what fascinates other people. As passionate as I am about WORDS so I am able to read with wonder and awe about the work you do in the field of 'data plumbing'.
Plumbing is an excellent metaphor and has my mind working overtime imagining leaking water and such all over the place. A messy complicated job I'm sure.
My Johannesburg daughter and her husband have a business in the IT world and I am amazed by the language they talk regarding their work that is as foreign to me as Russian is.

The logo for my Word blog was drawn up by me BUT when I photographed it it came onto my blog upside down! I tried my limited tricks but couldn't win!
I used the 'word hand' taken from Pixabay.
I will have to rethink.
Give me something to chew on as I take my daily walk on the beach!

Upside down? It looked fine to me. Do you want the fingers to point downward?

Never met a Russian. That is surprising. Anyhow, I don't understand why here any honor is involved. I thought they are all over the World.

I actually was born in the Soviet Union and lived there for 23 years and then immigrated to the US.

I did meet people from South Africa. Of all other accents, their accent sounds the most pleasant on my ear.

I love the sound of the French language. They might talk about the most trivial things and it sounds like they discuss a painting of Monet. ))) But in English their accent sounds awful.

The Russian accent also doesn't sound very pleasant.

Here's for instance how mine sounds


)))

You sound like a bear who has been hibernating for the winter! Not unpleasant to me.
Yes French sounds very beautiful and mysterious! Discussing famous artworks - exactly.
I didn't explain myself properly.
I drew my own logo. then I photographed it and when I placed it onto my steemit blog it came out upside down!
Hence I used the Word hand that I found on Pixabay.

How did you copy that hand image I used onto your reply? I am as you have probably worked out, technically challenged.

)) I was sick at the time.

Got it. If you want you are welcome to send it to me. I will flip it and send it back to you. My email is [email protected] or post it here in comments.

Great - thank you............but you don't understand that I am really challenged :0 I need step by step instructions.......
like this..........
right click on image,
etc.
Can you do that for me please?

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