Disturbing the Dust

Jenny didn’t know where the feelings had come from; they scarcely made sense. Yes, the staff had misunderstood her. Helen had accused her of lying. But surely her distress at the time was excessive. Speechless at the critical moment, she couldn’t even defend herself at first. Afterwards, still unnerved while trying to clarify, she hadn’t convinced anyone with that stammered explanation.

Alone in her apartment, Jenny was sitting slumped at the table, her half-eaten salad, wilting in the heat, resembling dying weeds from her garden, she thought. It would take another hour for this room to feel comfortable, even with a breeze blowing through her windows, importing its predictable scattering of dust. Struggling to her feet, she poured out some orange juice, cool from the fridge.

Holding the glass to her furrowed forehead, she flopped on the sofa and curled her legs under her. Perhaps she’d been simply too shocked to speak out, sudden anger in those faces rendering her helpless, as on witnessing an accident or when paralysed by fear.

Or maybe she was just more tired than usual, after four frantic weeks of exam preparation; and it had been extremely hot in the staffroom. No, she’d gone to bed early the night before …

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