Cassie stood at the edge of a cliff. Her toes felt weightless above the chasm. They had come close before, stepping within view of that point of no return but only kicking a pebble to test its depth before backing away.
Her boss said, “Would you like to sit down?”
Cassie blinked. The sunlight at this time of day angled directly at the place where she stood. She held her hand against the door frame for balance.
Her boss said, “Please, close the door and have a seat.”
She entered the small office, and glanced quickly out at the common area before closing the door. No one had noticed her. She sat in the guest chair in front of his desk, opposite the windows facing out onto the parking lot three stories below. The chair had thinly padded armrests, which she used to reposition herself at a casual angle and leaned on one elbow. She tried to look relaxed, while her heart raced and her stomach rolled inside.
“I think you know why we’re here,” the boss began. Blah, blah, blah, performance review, blah. Cassie let the words waft past her like a cloud of smoke, while the meaning stung her eyes and burned her throat.
He was waiting for a response. What was the question? “Do you want to continue working here?” That was the prompt, and he repeated it when she didn’t reply immediately.
The question was more complicated than a simple yes or no could cover. The “do you want to work” part was easy enough; it was the “here” part which gave her pause.
She sat there, on the edge of that cliff, with her legs now dangling over the unknown future below. Rocks with names like “unpaid bills” and “no health insurance” and “out-of-date skill set” lurked down there. Behind her was the plateau of “boredom” and “not making a difference” and “poor working conditions” that offered stability.
Cassie finally spoke. “I had a feeling this was coming.” She had imagined this moment many times, but the words now became too heavy to breathe. She knew what she wanted to say, but her mouth resisted. There would be no going back. She realized this must be how a sorcerer feels, finding an incantation harmlessly written in a book and unleashing its power via the human voice.
“I quit,” she said, and pushed herself off the cliff.