The Journal of James Oaklund

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Today was eventful. Amy unfortunately cancelled our cafe meeting yesterday, saying she’d been unexpectedly called in to work a shift that day, but that she’d make it up to me on the 22nd. I told her I really didn’t mind much and that she didn’t have to go out of her way for me, but she insisted. Heh. That’s the Amy I remember.

She went through a good decade or so where she usually seemed pretty down, but it seems like she’s finally getting back into a better place mentally. I’m really proud of her. And don’t get the wrong idea. We’re not dating. We’ve known each other since we were little kids, and that’s never been on the table. That’s just...Not the kind of relationship we had. I did get to talk to doc again today, as well as go in for my interview.

I guess I’ll talk about doc first, since the interview is really short and I have more to say about our call. Firstly, we had to push the call back a day because he had unexpectedly experienced an influx of several patients, and needed time to work them into his schedule. I totally get it. But we did end up talking today, and it went well. Went something like this:

“Hello, James? This is Ben calling, I just wanted to check in with you, see how you’re doing. Has it been an eventful week?”

“Oh, hey, Ben, yeah. Yeah it has. God, where do I start? Well, I guess I’ll start with Burkley’s.”

“Oh? Did you call them back, as I’d suggested? I’d love to hear how that turned out for you, James.”

It’s hard to explain...But you know how sometimes, even though you can’t see somebody’s face, you can tell by the way their voice sounds that they’re smiling? Ben’s voice sounded like that pretty much the entire time. It felt really, really good, honestly. It felt like he really, genuinely cared about me and my well-being. He was technically just an associate through the experiment, but...I’m beginning to think of him as a friend. A good friend, at that.

“Yeah, I did. I got through to somebody and they told me someone’d been fired from the exact position I was applying for. It was an extreme coincidence, but it aligned perfectly! I actually have an interview later today, Ben. Can you believe it?”

“Oh, that’s wonderful, James! I’m so happy for you. Are you sad to leave your job as a butcher behind?”

“Heh. Well, Ben, don’t talk like I’ve gone and got the job already, I haven’t even gotten to the interview. But your confidence is pretty reassuring, I won’t lie.”

“That’s a relief! I sometimes worry I’m being overbearing...At any rate, did anything else of interest happen?”

“Yeah, actually. I got a call from an old friend of mine, I hadn’t heard from her in about a year. We go way, way back. I told her about how I’d landed the interview with Burkley’s, and how it was all thanks to your advice and encouragement. She seemed to know you, actually.”

His voice seemed to pick up a very slight octave, like I’d piqued his curiosity.

“Oh, really? What’s her name, exactly? I may know who you’re referring to.”

“Amy. Amy Robins, does that name ring a bell?”

He chuckled in his endearing, collected way.

“Ah, Amy. Yes, I know madame Robins. I met her first a long time ago, when her parents brought her in to see me. She’d gone through some kind of tragic incident and they wanted to see if I could help console her. Well, with a little patience and some kind, gentle words, little Amy was right as rain again. Of course, that was rather early on in my career...I was still in school, technically, but operating out of my mentor’s laboratory. I ended up inheriting it when he passed on, you know. I operate from here still. I must say, it’s quite nice not to have to relocate my facility every few years like many other practitioners in the business must. Though I do fear I’m droning on...Ha ha. Amy came by for a visit just last night, actually. We had a very lovely chat over some tea, and she left in rather high spirits indeed. I believe she even told me she’d like to become part of the experiment, as one of my regular contacts. I, of course, obliged. Madame Robins is excellent company, you see. Ah, well, I’m sure you’re well aware. Tell me, is there anything else of interest?”

Our conversation ended up going on for far longer than intended once again, leading to another apology from me and a jovial, reassuring laugh from doc as we wound down and eventually hung up. Now I should probably mention the interview.

I don’t think I’ve ever had an interview go by so quickly...I’m still sort of amazed. Essentially what happened was: I went in, sat down with Dave, showed him my credentials from Oxenwagon, showed him my references from a few other jobs, and he hired me on the spot. I’m incredulous; completely shocked, still, but incredibly grateful. I sent an email to my boss at the grocery store to let him know that as of next week, I was going to be working at Burkley’s. Even he seemed surprised, as he’d heard me talking about that job like Captain Ahab’s white whale many times in the back, as I went about my bloody work. But all around I got congratulations, whether from family, friends, or coworkers and other various associates.

It has me feeling really, properly good for the first time in a long while. Feels like I spent a long time just going through the motions, you know? Now I feel...Like I’m heading towards a goal. Like I’m really living. It feels nice. I stopped by the bakery at the end of my street for the first time in a while tonight, to pick up a little cake and have it in celebration, maybe save a couple slices for Amy. I don’t often go to this bakery because they’re notorious for fucking up every order they’ve ever gotten; but they got mine perfectly right. The future’s looking bright.

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