Turning a puppy into a bitch.

Some days I feel taller than others. Like the day I told Martin to go and fuck himself. And I have never told anyone to go and do that before.

It was one of those muted days. The colours seemed muted, dull, static. I love and hate these days. Love them because they have a eerie peacefulness and hate them because they stir up that little brown seed of depression right within your belly. Rain started to speckle my windscreen enough to blur my vision of the road but not enough so that the wipers moved smoothly across the glass. The noise of those damn wipers had already put me into a foul mood. I had worked with Martin for about 3.5 solid years. He was mainly the subject I’d bring up with girlfriends if they asked “how is work going?”.

In my first week at the firm Martin had made a rather lazy and offensive pass at me. The first Friday night drinks I’d attended and he’d obviously been enjoying the cheap beer before I arrived.

“Amanda, the whole week you have been looking like a lost puppy without it’s mama, how about I give you some pointers over dinner this weekend, turn that the puppy into a fierce bitch?, I like my women strong”. He even ended this with a wink and went in for a kiss on the cheek. I wish I could tell you I told him to go fuck himself right then and there but he was right in a way. I was a puppy somewhat lost. Instead I laughed and shrugged him off. I think his ego has never gotten over that fact I didn’t want to go out with him.

Martin was a huge ladies man. I’m not sure what kind of woman would want a man like that but he always had stories from the weekend about his sexual adventures and his horrible ways with these women. That wasn’t the most annoying thing about him though. I would say the list would go like this- keep in mind I have limited this list to 5 things otherwise I would never stop.

Why Martin was a disgusting human being:

  1. His ego. No matter what (nearly getting fired, getting things thrown at him, losing friends and flatmates) his ego is as strong as a lion. Things were NEVER his fault.
  2. His looks. Now I am know I sound like a terrible person for contributing looks to why a person is disgusting but hear me out. Until you get to know Martin, he is drop dead gorgeous, his eyes have the potential to get lost in, his hands are large, arms muscular and he smells delicious. Having seen him with his shirt off countless times (not in his bedroom thank you, but mainly at work parties) I know he works for his sculpted body. He didn’t deserve his exterior.
  3. His luck, despite his lack of ability or the trouble he causes, he seemed to succeed. Not by hard work mind you, it sort of just fell into his lap.
  4. His unspeakable attitude towards women and his treatment of them.
  5. He was unbelievably disapproving of other’s actions and other’s work, especially mine.

This last point brings me to what led me to swear at Martin. We were working on a project together which usually didn’t happen too often given my boss is sensible and would prefer to keep the workplace calm and collected. This however was unavoidable. I like my job and I wasn’t going to drop it because of some schmuck with a six pack. The first part had gone surprisingly well to shock us both. After the first week Martin commented we could continue this match made in heaven at his apartment. “I think we would make a spectacular team at my place- want to prove me right?”.

After the second rejection Martin received from me, things went downhill fast.

For the next 2 and a half weeks, it became apparent Martin had made it his mission to make my life hell. Every draft and idea, Martin picked apart. He left my work unrecognisable. I could have stayed home. In meetings with clients he would talk over me and put me down, often in personal ways in which an unpleasant silence would follow. I didn’t have to speak to my boss about this as Martin’s behaviour was so un-ashamed and open that she could see exactly what was happening. “Amanda, if it’s that bad I can have you moved.” I couldn’t believe I was the one who would be pulled from the project. Out of shock and habit I reply “No no it’s fine. I will see this through.”.

We had just finished a meeting where Martin had commented on my outfit and cleavage in front of the clients. Out of deep anger not embarrassment my cheeks had become alight. My neck suddenly sweaty and my clothes tight. I had chosen not to look him the eye for the rest of meeting and only speaking to the clients. Made him into a black mass of dust in the corner.

As we were walking out the door he arched his shoulders right back and puffed his chest out as he took large strides towards me until the tips of his shoes touched mine. He leaned his long tanned neck and moved his lips right in my ear so I could feel his breath on my damp skin “what about letting out some of that frustration in the locker room?”. If I had a knife in my hand I swear I could have stabbed him right in the heart. Watched the scarlet cloud grow large and replace the light blue of his shirt. The shock and pain in his face, his eyes staring at me in disbelief. I would have left him to bleed out like a deer in the forest in between the dark twisty branches. Listen to a few of his husky pleas for help, slowly slide the knife out from the tight muscle and then walked right out into the day air, the knife still in my hand.

Instead my body stumbled backwards into the wall with a thud. Looking him straight in the eyes “Go and fuck yourself Martin”. And then I walked out into the day air. No knife in hand.

In the car the next day it was already hot with sun beating down on the paint of my car. My air conditioning was broken so I had the windows down, all of them. The day was bright and free feeling, like how you feel going to work on the last day before a big exciting holiday. The work day almost feels a part of the holiday. That extra big smile to give to the barista as you pick up your morning latte, the cheeky wave you exchange with the kind driver who gives way to you. You know those days.

I was trying to think of how to word my pitch to my boss for Martin to be dropped from the project. I most certainly didn’t see my future in jail for murder; after yesterday’s day dream felt closer to reality than it should. My boss instead called for a whole team meeting as soon as I arrived. We all sat around the meeting room table, lemon bleach in the air from the cleaners some 30 minutes beforehand. Martin wasn’t there. Confusion and hope bubbled up in my stomach. Fired. Finally. Instead my boss, her eyes clearly red and swollen from tears started “Martin… Martin has been in a car accident last night. He died this morning. Internal bleeding. His family knows. I’m closing the office today…. you all should go home and…take time…” .

At his funeral I cried like I never cried before. More than at my Grandma’s funeral, more than at my friend Jess’s funeral.

I’m not sure if it was relief or guilt.