Life Moves Faster Than Me

Hello my dear readers,

It is I, Aminah, back for an update because I’ve been gone for a long minute, a minute longer than I’d anticipated. My last post (I think I published it…) was about my new moves: teaching English in Korea, getting my TESOL, etc. not necessarily in that order.

Guess what?

THOSE PLANS FELL THROUGH!

I was hesitant to write about it because NO ONE likes to admit defeat or failure, and that’s exactly what this was. Granted, I’m two micro lesson video recordings and submission of my teacher’s portfolio away from getting my TESOL certificate, so not all was a failure.

Suffice it to say, I have learned a lot about myself in the process of things falling apart and me trying to piece them back together again. My resolve to never re-enter the world of tech is still strong. It’s so strong, in fact, that I get nauseous just thinking about applying to a tech role. 

Anyway!

My overall goal was to dip out of America tout de suite (or right away, for my non-French speakers) for reasons which I will not talk about on my very apolitical blog. Because they can be deemed as political, and that’s not what this blog is about. While I love South Korea, there are things going on within its borders that I’m not too keen on (political stuff mixed with public health stuff), and I think that my inability to snag a teaching job was kind of a miracle amidst all of that.

We shall see about my emigration goal in the coming weeks and whether or not something can be done to accomplish it. If I’m successful, you surely will find out.
As for writing, that was put on the back-burner until my completion of the TESOL certificate, which should be within the next couple of weeks.

As for life coaching, my resolve for getting serious about it has been stronger than ever, especially after I kind of pushed it to the side for the possibility of teaching.

As for teaching, with the world the way that it is, I don’t foresee myself in front of a class room any time soon. And even if I do end up teaching, it would have to be of the internet flavor for now and the unforeseeable future. 

I’ve thought about going back to school to get my Master’s in Psychology. I’m still on the fence about it and luckily I have some time to think on it since I wouldn’t be going until Fall 2021 or Spring 2022. 

One thing I know for sure is that I have an aversion to commitment because of the possibility of failure/plans falling through/the world going to crap/[insert other reason for fear of commitment here] and it’s something that I am working on. Seeing as to how my teaching in Korea plans failed, you’d think I was a complete mess who would never ever commit to anything again. Fortunately, I’ve a bit of resiliency for things like this so I wasn’t a complete mess; maybe just like 67% 😆 

Anywho, I’ll slowly be making my way back here, so you’ll be seeing a lot more of me. In the meantime, be well, stay healthy, and keep flowing towards your happiness like water flowing to the lowest point. 

∞ Aminah Jamil

This Life and All Its Things

Photo Credit: Aleksandar Pasaric

Greetings my frenz, I hope you all are doing well! As this post is titled, I wanted to talk about life and what’s been going on. As my post Rediscovering My Inner INFJ talked about a little bit, my life has been going through some changes lately. From quitting my corporate job to realizing that I wanted to focus more on writing to needing to figure out what I want to do for work when the time comes. Things have been somewhat hectic and hazy. 

One of the biggest issues for INFJs is the inability to commit to a decision, especially in the realm of career. It starts as early as high school when many people face this struggle, regardless of MBTI type; however, INFJs are notorious for getting caught up in that trap well after college years. Something that I’m learning about my own reasons for this is that society isn’t built with INFJs and types like us in mind. It’s built for people who can commit to a job, whether they like it or not, and are willing to do what it takes to survive. Even if the job gives them no meaning or purpose, they will do it, even if they’re mentally and/or physically exhausted. I’ve allowed the words of people close to me to seep into my mind, words that say things like, “STEM degrees and jobs are the only ones that matter,” or “if you work in anything other than STEM I have no respect for you.” 

Words like that from people you care about can really get to you, and I didn’t realize it until a couple of days ago, but I’d been affected by them to my core. As much as I loved programming and working in STEM, it was ultimately a dead end for me. The only joy I derived from it was the fact that it paid well, but mo’ money mo’ problems is real. If I wanted to go back to school at all, for example, I wouldn’t be able to do so for a few years as I wouldn’t receive financial aid, amongst other things. 

These are things I wish I’d known, but the journey of life is such that hindsight is always 20/20. 

Another reason why I feel that INFJs have a difficult time committing to decisions is because we like to be certain that things will be okay in the long run and we want to avoid failure and rejection if at all possible. If a situation seems a bit dodgy, we’ll have 10 back-up plans in place just in case our original plan fails. When we do that, we don’t have the time or energy to focus as much on the original plan, as we need to work up the skills in the other 10 plans in order to feel a semblance of comfort. The “jack of all trades, master of none” bit comes to mind heavily with this reason. When the original plan looks at all as if it will fail, we will fall back and remove ourselves from it until it looks safe again, but by then we’ve wasted a lot of time we could have spent honing our skills in the original.

For me that translates to years I could have spent saving and revising my writing samples instead of deleting them because they weren’t good enough, focusing on my strengths instead of allowing comparisons get the best of me, and so on. I know it sounds sad, but I’m actually really grateful to know this now, because I know what it looks like and how to overcome it. I can only hope for the same for my INFJ comrades.

With all of that being said, I’ve been pushing myself to make commitments and redefine who I am and want to be in the world. I wish this virus situation had nothing to do with it, but ultimately, it is somewhat of a driver for some of my decisions. While I’ve decided to get back into creative writing for the long haul, I’ve had to temporarily put it on hold. I need to put food on the table y’all! The thing that excites me though is that what I do have going on has opened me to a world of stories and ideas.

One of my commitments is to focus on the English language and become an English teacher. This means that I’ve been going super hard in order to get my TESOL certification before September. TESOL is an acronym for Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages, and it encompasses both Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) and Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL). The course is amazing. It’s through Arizona State University on Coursera, which I love. The kicker is that it’s really thorough and quite intense. The timeline to completion is about 48 weeks, as there are 8 modules with 6 week-long lessons a piece. Since I’m not working, I’ve been able to dedicate full time to doing two weeks a day, except for the first Capstone, where I’ve lightened my load a little bit. Suffice it to say, it has taken a lot out of me, and by the time I’m done with all of the work for each module, I don’t want to look at my computer until the next day.

My goal is to begin my journey as an English teacher in South Korea by October 2020. We will see how that pans out over the next couple of months. My hope is that I shall return and write a blog post with the great news of my acquisition of a great teaching position in the coming weeks. The next goal is to go back to school and get my Masters in English, as I would like to teach English as a foreign language overseas in either international schools or at the university level. I know, I know, I talked about not having to go back to school in order to write well; however, that was in regards to creative writing. It’s imperative that I get an MA in English in order to teach at the university level, so that is something that I just have to go out and accomplish.

The last goal, of course, is to get back into creative writing in a serious way. Luckily all of my goals, or should I say “commitments,” allow me to get knee deep into the English language, which will make me a better writer in the long run. 

I thought it’d be scary to start making these commitments, but it’s actually quite refreshing. For so long I’d been lying to myself about what I wanted in order to fit into society and make a decent living, in order to mask my eccentricities and be accepted. The reality is that I will likely always live on the edge of society, not fitting in at all, and that’s fine with me. The older I get, the more I see through the lies and the BS of the world and how much of it is unimportant. What’s important is doing something I love and figuring out how to fund it. Failure and rejection are inevitable and it’s about time I sucked it up and accepted that, too.

We’re all out here learning. I’ll be back as soon as the TESOL certification is done in a couple of weeks, if not before then.

∞ Aminah Jamil

The Dragon Outside, Part 1

The cold, morning air felt like a godsend to Naima after having almost melted in the over-heated house. Her mother was anemic and always needed the heat to be on a few degrees higher than normal. She loved her mother and would live in a one-thousand degree home if that’s what was necessary for her mother to be comfortable. Stepping out into the cold was the gift the universe gave her for being understanding, at least that’s what she told herself. It was all okay in the end. Naima was well-cared for and her mother was happy.

As she ventured off into the forest behind their cottage, Naima remember the words of her mother: “Don’t go off too far and make sure to come back before the dusk settles.” She smiled at the advice of her dear mama. One day she would realize that Naima was 19-years-old, no longer a child, and that she’d already had her fair share of brushes with danger, though she’d never tell her mother that. In the land of Basab, unless one stayed inside all day, one would have had at least one meeting with death. The land was not so friendly to those that wished not to explore and learn its defenses and offenses. It would be the unsuspecting, mindless wanderer that would succumb to the vices of the Earth with no mercy granted.

Thick patches of moss grew on the trunks of the trees throughout the forest. Naima liked to get up close and wiggle her nose in them to take in the moist, earthy smell. She enjoyed breathing on them and creating clouds of condensation even more, feeling as though she were creating a kind of communication with the tiny ecosystem, as though she was its queen and gave it her blessing to make sure the inhabitants were treated fairly and kindly. She imagined a world of tiny people there having a party, dancing in the vapors.

Despite her tiny adventures around her home, there wasn’t much for her to do those days. After the king set off for a trip to a land they didn’t even have a name for, the people were made to wait for his return until they could press on with their daily affairs. While the soldiers that did not accompany the king were busy guarding the kingdom, the rest of the people busy being wary of potential intruders. No one wanted to attend their lessons, no one wanted to work full days. Naima would have normally worked in the seamstress shop, but she was placed on leave until the king’s return.

That left Naima to roam as she pleased, anywhere within the walls of the kingdom. There was one problem, and that was the fact that at one end of the Kingdom there wasn’t a clear boundary, but instead, a thick, deep, dark forest that most would not dare to explore unless they had the proper equipment and a team. Thick walls of bushes with sharp thorns, quicksand pits, and swamps covered in leaves made to look like simple forest floor were the defenses that acted as a trap to unsuspecting explorers. Naima’s cottage was already close to that area that many in the Kingdom called the Devil’s Foyer.

When Your Life Stops but the World Keeps Going

Photo credit: Matthias Cooper

Even though I do my best to keep my Reddit experience to just the things I want/need to see, sometimes things outside of that creep in. Today there was a post about Frank Ocean losing his little brother and as soon as I saw that, my heart broke into a thousand little pieces. Frank Ocean is one of those artists I listen to when I’m in a sea of despair because, like me, he’s an INFJ and so his music really speaks to certain parts of me. Always there when I need it.

As I’m trying to do my TESOL homework, I’m extremely distracted, probably because I feel things way too deeply. It’s more likely, though, because this reminds me of my own loss, and I can’t help but understand and know the kind of pain and devastation he’s experiencing right now. 

It’s as if time stops moving. You’re stuck in this in-between space where life is still moving and life has stopped. There’s an unbearable weight on your chest and in your throat and there aren’t enough tears to cry, but somehow they still keep coming out. You’re in shock. How? How? How? How could this have happened? How?

The pain becomes so unbearable sometimes that the only thing you can do is try to scream it out. So you yell, you scream, you bellow your pain out into the world, to try and make the pain go away. But when you’re done screaming, it’s still there, so you cry some more. The unfairness of it all is extremely cruel. 

Then comes the unbearable truth that the person you love can no longer come up to you and give you a hug, you can never look into their eyes again and tell them you love them, and there appears this hole in your world, where someone very important is missing. Then comes the unbearable truth that they’re never coming back, that tomorrow will be the same as yesterday. 

And then comes the unbearable reality that you are alone in what you’re feeling, and that the whole world isn’t mourning with you, that while they may send multitudes of sympathy and condolences, they can never understand the depths of the heart break and heart ache that you’re experiencing.

My heart is with you Frank Ocean.

∞ Aminah Jamil

Day 10 – Growing Up

Photo Credit: Quang Nguyen Vinh

One day you’ll wake up and realize that there is more weight on your shoulders than they ever told you there’d be. If you’re someone like me you’ll grin and bear it for a while. You’ll walk around in the world lonelier than a man who’s six feet under, surrounded by people who love you, but don’t know how to love you. You’ll feel okay for a while, under this weight, accepting that being alive comes with a whole hell of a lot of responsibilities that you never asked for. Some nights you’ll pray that the burden was just a little bit less, just a little bit lighter, and then maybe you’d be able to walk a little taller, with a little bit more confidence. Days go by, and then weeks go by with your prayers going unanswered.

Maybe you’ll cry and throw your fists up at the sky in frustration with the unfairness of it all. You can’t help being born the way you are, no matter how hard you try to change into the person the world says you need to be, you just can’t. It’s impossible. It’ll feel better for a little while, after you get that off your chest, but the uncertainties will start creeping back in and you’ll start to feel the weight again, and you’ll realize that this isn’t the way you want to live.

Being an adult, you’ll find, is more like being a misunderstood child in a grown person’s body. A lot of us never really grew up, you see. A lot of us had to overcompensate for what we missed out on in our childhoods; playing games like children do in these big bodies, waiting for someone to see that we’re just crying out for attention, a hug, someone to pat our heads and tell us everything’s going to be alright. The thing I learned is that if we want that, we have to be that, but most of us are too caught up in our own problems or are too afraid or too ashamed, and it ends up being a shame that we can’t help each other.

I’m telling you all of this because you don’t have to wake up and realize this, you have the ability to change this world that you live in if you want to. You can be the kind ear or safe place, if you want to be. You have to be okay with looking beyond your troubles and struggles and see that everyone is troubled and struggling. I hope you do that, when you grow up. Remember what I’m telling you now and find a way to make peace with this world. 

Day 8 – Dream Catcher, Part 1

Photo credit: Daniel Hourtoulle from Pixabay

As I made myself comfortable in the well-worn in armchair, its velvet hugging my clothes as if to tell me that I was safe to relax into it, I could hear the howl of the wind as the winter storm grew stronger outside. The warm, dim light of the sconce lamps on the walls flickered, casting a haunting glow between the paintings. Dr. Murray, my psychotherapist, had left the office briefly to speak to the receptionist, though I figured he was probably also going to the loo. He was a highly sought out therapist, and my guess was that he had so many patients throughout the day, even on days such as this, that he had to use any open chance to handle his business.
 
He was a kind-natured fellow, an older gentleman; quite stout in stature with a little balding spot right on the top of his head.
 
“Alright, Mademoiselle Loraine, I’m back.” He said as he shimmied into the chair behind his desk. “We have made great progress, in my humble opinion, in a very short amount of time at that.” He smiled at me and clasped his hands on top of his desk.

I flashed him a small smile in response.
 
“You don’t think so?” He asked, as a look of surprise appeared on his face.

“Um,” I started, “I’m still having the nightmares without the visuals. Except now, I hear them, but I still don’t see them.”

“That is progress, my dear! When you first came in to see me, you complained of nightmares, but you could only feel them. Everything else was all black. Then you began to see light, and now you can hear them. What have you been hearing?”

“Well, it’s all muffled, so I can’t really make it out. Oh! But I can see very blurry outlines of figures moving about, nothing at at all distinguishable though.”

Dr. Murray nodded. “I see, I see,” he paused and looked at me, “any other developments? Inside of the dreams or in your waking life?”

I tilted my head curiously and gave the questions a bit of thought.

“Not in my dreams, no, but I’m not quite sure what you mean when you say in my ‘waking life.’”

“Oh, yes. Carl Gustav Jung, a famous psychiatrist and psychoanalyst believed in the concept of synchronicities, which holds that two separate events that seem to be coincidences may actually have a meaningful relationship. His biggest anecdote about that was of a woman he was treating, who in the middle of her appointment with him, told him about a dream she had. In her dream she saw a golden scarab.

“As she was telling him about the dream, an insect flew into his window. When he turned to see what it was, he opened the window and caught it, only to find that it was as close in resemblance to the scarab the woman had seen in her dream that could possibly be found in that area of the world.”

My heart began to pound against the inside of my chest, as warm waves moved down my body. The thing was that I had experienced something like that.

“Actually yes.” I began, “Though I can’t make out the exact sounds from my dreams, I was able to hear a muffled melody of some sort, something unfamiliar to my waking mind. However, when I went to the library over on 57th and Ashby last week, the one with the gorgeous lobby, I could’ve sworn that the same song was playing softly in that lobby. I remember thinking, ‘what a strange coincidence.’ However, now I’m afraid that I may have been wrong.”

“Hmm, yes. That is quite strange indeed.” Dr. Murray slowly moved his head up and down, seemingly pulling in information from somewhere deep inside of his mind. “How about this? I have a good friend and colleague of mine who’s a hypnotist, Dr. Dandridge is his name. I believe we might need his expertise to pull what’s trying to uncover itself from the recesses of your subconscious. By all means, if you’re not comfortable with this, you can decline-“

“I’d like to do it.” I said, not meaning to cut him off. “I mean, I’m sorry, I’d really like it if you brought your colleague in.”

He chuckled. “You must be quite eager to get this nipped in the bud.”
 
“Absolutely. It’s a strange life to live having nightmares that you can only feel, but you can’t see or hear.”

“I can’t even imagine. Rest assured, we will take care of this. I’ll reach out to you with some openings for both myself and Dr. Dandridge before the end of the week.”

I rose to my feet, both nervous and excited about our next appointment. Would the hypnotist be able to pull the hidden nightmare from my the recesses of my mind? If so, what if it’s something so horrid that I purposely hid it from myself so that I would never have to face it again? What if I regret it?

Dr. Murray left his chair to meet me at the door and patted my shoulder.

“Don’t worry, my dear. Whatever we uncover, I’ll be sure to make things right.” He said as he escorted me to the door.

His reassurance was comforting, but I couldn’t help but think that we were about to uncover a monstrosity.

Rediscovering My Inner INFJ

Photo credit: Skitterphoto – I think I will start using images that reflect the post content…

Hello, hello, hellooooo there. Though I plan to write a blog post about why I quit my job, I haven’t done so just yet, but I really want to talk about this INFJ and Myers-Brigg topic which will touch on some of the points about why I quit and things that I realized about myself in this post. You’ll be able to read it in much more depth once I publish the ‘Why I Quit My Job’ post.

Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI)

Most of you have probably heard of the MBTI (though my mom hasn’t, and I feel like I should send her a link to complete it), and some may agree with its test results while others may not. I was kind of skeptical in the beginning because I seemed to flip between INFP and INFJ quite often, leading me to believe that the test was off. I’m not going to go into the psychology of it all here; I encourage you to do some research on it if you’re interested and take one of the tests you can find online for free here or here, or pay for it here.

After a while I’d begun to realize that we can waver between two similar types depending on the day, and that made a lot of sense. I think, especially for women whose hormones quite heavily affect their moods like me, that wavering between two MBTI types happens often. Men, too, perhaps, but being a woman gives me more anecdotal insight into the matter.

How Did I Come to Rediscover Myself as an INFJ

For a while after college I thought I leaned more towards the INFP side of the house, so I just submitted to that type for a while. It was okay, especially as I was working for my previous employer and had to be a lot more sociable due to the nature of my job. In fact, I’d put the MBTI out my mind and focused more on material world things instead of spending time in my mind in a way that many INFJs are familiar with. Moreover, my job didn’t really allow me the time to be in my head. Much of my post-working hours were spent learning and understanding the super-advanced technologies that I was supposed to teach to my clients and help them to understand. 

The first year went well. However, the second year I began to burnout really, really badly. To make matters worse, my second manager quit about three months into my getting to know my first multi-billion-dollar-a-year-in-revenue  client, kind of leaving me high and dry with my very, very ESTP/ENTJ/ENFJ colleagues in the sales group. Being an introvert and being the kind of introvert who needs a lot of background information before I feel comfortable adding my input, things started to sour. Eventually I went back to my first highly unsupportive manager, and then moved to a very supportive manager. Eventually he quit, too, which sent me back to the unsupportive manager. Needless to say, the burnout plus the lack of support and the slow but obvious shift of my role into being more sales-y than technical is what drove me to quit.

I’ve been away from that job for almost two months now, and I thought that I’d get back into a tech role, namely software or web development. But as the days have gone by, and I’ve been able to hear and feel myself again, I’ve come to realize that I don’t really want to be in the tech industry anymore. If you read any ‘recommended careers for INFJ’ website, they’ll say that jobs such as web developer or programmer are good. While I agree with that, as I enjoy coding, it’s the job searching process and the inherent competitiveness of the industry that tends to leave us feeling drained.

Plus, I realized that the only reason I was in the field to begin with is because we will always need technologists and many roles are very lucrative. If you read just about any job site in regards to coronavirus’s impact on the job market, jobs in technology are the ones that have remained relatively unscathed. That’s awesome news for anyone wishing to enter or stay in the tech field. 

Being able to hear and feel myself again, though, is how I’ve been able to rediscover my inner INFJ again. I realized that I’d been lying to myself about what I really want to do and how I’d like to go about it for a long time now, almost four years. The scary thing is that I’m in my 30s and I’m still asking the question, “what do I want to be when I grow up?”

Post-Rediscovery –  What’s Next?

Rediscovering my INFJ has reminded me that, for those of us with this type, it’s completely normal and to be expected to still ask that question. Not only are we idealists at our innermost core, but we need to feel some kind of purpose in what we do. That’s a tall order to ask of many jobs out there. And being in my 30s and still having student loan debt to pay off, I do not want to go back to school. That leaves a lot of unanswered questions and soul-searching to do.

Preliminary soul searching led me to life coaching and opening up a body care business, but there’s a lot that goes into both of those before they can actually become things I can make a living off of. While I still plan to pursue life coaching in some form, I’m seriously dabbling with the idea of becoming an English teacher. Obviously not in the U.S. because that would require more schooling.

Then there’s the writing, which is like a loyal lover following me throughout the highs and lows of my life. Vlogging has also made its way to the forefront of my mind. Being a vlogger has always been a weird idea to me, though I’ve attempted it multiple times. I think it would be a purposeful endeavor to use vlogging as a way to help other INFJers that are around my age understand that they’re not alone and how to navigate being an INFJ in a non-INFJ-friendly world (even though I’m not exactly sure myself – maybe we can navigate together). Or in the very least, watch me as I stumble through the rest of my life trying to figure things out.

All in all, I feel a sense of relief remembering my MBTI type, INFJ. Instead of feeling like a complete failure, I understand that this is normal for me and my INFJ people, and that once we find something that isn’t crazy draining, but also purposeful, we will finally experience peace. Hopefully. For a while, at least. 

Are there any INFJs reading this? What’s your experience been like? Have you found success in a career you love? I’d love to read your story!

∞ Aminah Jamil

Day 7 – A Curse, Part 1

Percival bit his lip as the bank teller, Lucy, typed in the information for his savings account in the database. The serious look on her face plus the really fast typing she was doing gave him butterflies and made him rapidly tap his foot on the recently waxed floor. Lucy never looked over at him, not even to provide him a little reassurance. Surely she must be aware of the energy of anxiety oozing from his being, and know how to ease a customer’s worries.

The thing was that his mother, a woman taken to overindulging in spirits, as well as with slot machines and Texas Hold’em, was not to be trusted most of the time. He loved her, undoubtedly, but she had a way of guilt-tripping him into doing the most self-damaging things in order to get what she wanted. She would arrive at his apartment in the early hours of the morning, much before dawn, and ring his doorbell nonstop until he answered. Every time she did, his heart would sink into his stomach, for he knew exactly who it was. Her greed left no trust in his heart any other woman, and even if that wasn’t the case, he feared that she would leech from whatever woman was insane enough to be in his life, to eventually drive the woman out of it.

If it wasn’t for the fact that his mother had been eerily quiet for the last two months, he would not be standing in the bank at that moment. The longest she’d ever left him be was three weeks. He wasn’t quite sure how she would have gotten his bank account information, but he knew how she could get when she was desperate. Lucy’s eyebrows raised as she finished typing, then followed the brow raise with a deep breath.

“I’m just waiting on the system to finish loading, Mr. Goddard.” She glanced briefly at him above the rims of her tortoiseshell glasses.

Percival had over $50,000 saved up in that account. One might assume him to be quite foolish with his savings, wondering why he wouldn’t put it to good use in an investment account or real estate. He had many reasons, but the number one reason was his need for deep research. With his office job where he often worked overtime, it was near impossible to think of anything else besides work. He was a man of many excuses.
“Mr. Goddard, your account balance is…” Lucy pulled out a pen and paper and wrote it down. 

$53,731.42

Percival’s whole body relaxed. He wanted to kiss Lucy and ask her if she was free that evening, but being Percival, he would never pull a stunt like that, no matter how relieved he was. 

“Thank you, thank you so much.” He told her instead. He took the piece of paper with his balance on it and neatly folded it into his pocket before he turned to walk out of the bank. He was curious though, where was his mother and why hadn’t she come around? 

Day 6 – You Looking At Me Looking At You, Part 1

Photo cred: Streetwindy

I hurry to get to get to the elevator before it closes. My morning hadn’t gotten off to such a great start, plus it was raining and the buses were running late. One of the heels on my favorite get-out-of-the-door-as-fast-as-I-can pumps, the matte black ones with the pointy toes, broke off as soon as I put them on. To top it off, I’m officially 5 minutes late to a very important practice presentation meeting for the real deal presentation with an investor tomorrow. It feels like I’m in one of those nightmarish movies, the ones where with every step you take your legs get heavier and heavier and your destination gets farther and farther away. Before I can reach the elevator hall, I feel lighter but I also hear harsh flutter of papers scattering and folders falling to the floor. Heat flows in heavy waves up my face as I turn to look behind me and see a trail of papers forming a line a couple of feet away, ending near my feet.

Everyone is either on their way to their offices or standing around, chatting it up with cups of coffee, all looking over at me, but no one helping. I rush to pick up the papers, one by one, all now out of order. Murphy’s Law won’t stop playing in my mind, as I think of all of the possible ways my boss will kill me once I finally arrive to our floor. How did the papers even fall out of my messenger bag anyway? In a momentary break from picking up papers and stuffing them in whatever folder I can, I see that my zipper has broken. Great.

I resume picking up papers, but as I do, a young gentleman around 28 or 29 squats down on one knee to help me. He has on black, circular-framed glasses, with a large tuft of black hair flowing over his eyebrows, dark jeans stretchy enough to allow him to get down on the floor in that manner, and a blue tweed blazer. He’s got a little goatee trying to grow in, as if he hasn’t had access to a razor in a few days, but also as if he’s been trying to grow it for months and this is all he’s got. I want to know which one it is. I shake the thoughts away and begin picking up papers again, feeling the wave of heat move up my cheeks again.

We continue picking up papers in silence until, without either of us realizing it, our hands touch as we reach the last one. I look down at my hand and then up at him, who is already looking at me. When my eyes meet his, all time stops. The sounds from around the building lobby slow down and fade away, leaving just the sound of my heartbeat and both of our breathing. Even those sounds are muffled, reminding me of the moments right after plunging into a deep body of water when the surface stills and you’re just hovering underwater. Calm. Serene.

His eyes are the most beautiful that I’ve ever seen up until this point in my life, and I find myself thinking that I don’t think I ever want to look into any other pairs of eyes except for his ever again. There’s nothing particularly special about them; they’re your basic dark brown irises with black pupils. I can tell he’s got some kind of East Asian background, if it’s not his full background, though, so maybe it’s that. He doesn’t break his gaze either, nor does he remove his hand from mine. All of the morning’s events faded away with the rest of the world, and all I want now is to reside in this moment, for at least a little while.