The Pressure

1413 Words
"Yes, grandpa."    “Malaya, how are you, my child?”    Aya heard her grandfather ask. “I am doing fine, how about you?” She answered. “All too well. Anyway, I was reminded by my secretary that it was your birthday in two weeks.”     Hearing her grandfather mention her birthday, only one thing came to her mind – the family tradition. She closed her eyes and screamed mentally before she let out an awkward chuckle. “Just as your birthday is coming as well, grandpa.” She said and her grandfather chuckled from the other line.   Their birthdays were just two weeks apart. “That it is; I’m getting really old. Anyway, make sure you come home on my birthday. There will be a small gathering, and we’ll be celebrating together.” He said.   Aya scowled and pursed her lips. A small gathering is something that doesn’t exist in her family. “Grandpa, I don’t think –“ “I won’t take no for an answer Malaya. I expect you to be home on my birthday.” Her grandfather said with the finality in his voice.   Aya cannot help but sigh. “Yes, grandfather.” She mumbled. “Speak up child. You know I don’t like it when you mumble.” The old man pressed.   Aya heaved a deep sigh and smiled. “I’ll be there grandpa. I’ll make sure to finish all my work before your birthday.” She said. “Good, I’ll see you then .” The old man said and then he hangs up.   Once Aya confirmed that the call was over, she groaned, and then she turned and dived into her bed. Burying her face on the pillow, she screamed in frustration. Then she turned over and huffed. “Malaya Enriquez, you are done.” She mumbled as she stares at the ceiling. ***********************************.     The next day, Aya went to work with all the things occupying her mind. She sat behind her desk inside her office, just staring at the wall. And when her secretary Ophelia or Ofie came into her office she immediately noticed her boss spacing out. She called her a few times, but there was no response.    Ofie carefully approached the desk and placed the folder with documents on top of the desk before snapping her fingers in front of Aya’s eyes. Aya was startled when she saw her secretary right in front of her. “Ofie.” “I was calling you but you seem to be in another world,” Ofie said and Aya sighed.   Ofie immediately noticed how troubled her boss was. She sat on the chair in front of her desk and asked. “What’s bothering you?”   Aya leaned back on her chair and looked at Ofie. Ofie has been a very good friend to her and a very efficient employee. For Aya, she is the best person in her workplace that she can really depend on. She sighed and then she pulled out the invitation from her bag and hand it over to her secretary.   Ofie took the envelope and opened it. When she read the word reunion, she knew right away what was troubling her boss. She gave back the envelope to Aya once she was done reading the contents. “Is it safe to say that you are spacing out because of the upcoming reunion?” Ofie asked. “It’s not just a reunion Ofie.” Aya stressed. “For me, it’s just a reunion,” Ofie said and Aya looked at her. “For you. You are a people person; you get along well with everyone, while I am the awkward one. And besides, they will be taking their families with them. It is something I don’t have.” Aya told her.   Ofie sighed after hearing Aya. She knew how she lives her life; quite boring but productive. Her boss is a very workaholic and reserved person. She doesn’t mingle much, and a reunion is something that she is not very comfortable with. “I understand you, trust me I do. But Miss Aya, you have to come out of your shell once in a while and live your life. What are you so stressed about this reunion anyway?” “First of all, I don’t want to play nice with my batch mates who do nothing but talk ill of people behind their backs. And mostly, they will just pester me with questions like why haven’t I gotten married yet or why don’t you have a boyfriend.” Aya reasoned. “I understand that, it’s a common thing during reunions. But so what? You carry yourself well. You have a very successful career; you got a lot of time for yourself. So what if you are single? Its trend now; strong independent women of modern society.” Ofie paused and grinned.   Aya smiled and shakes her head. “You’re still young, you’re what? Twenty-nine turning thirty?” Ofie asked and Aya froze.   Aya remembered the call she had last night when Ofie mentioned her age. Ofie noticed the sudden frown on her boss’ face when she mentioned her age. That is when she realized why. She remembered that she once told her about the old tradition in their family.  “You’re turning thirty soon...” Ofie trailed and Aya nodded. “And I just got a call from my grandfather,” Aya told her, and Ofie gaped at her. “He called you already?” She asked and Aya nodded. “He called last night and he reminded me of my birthday. He also told me to go home and celebrate our birthday together.” Aya said. “Did the two of you have the same birthday?” Ofie asked. “Not really. My birthday comes first, then after two weeks it’s his.” Aya answered, and then she heaved a deep sigh. “I can already picture what’s going to happen. He will announce something during that celebration.” Aya said and then she leaned forward and propped her elbows on the table as she buries her face on her palms. “This is so frustrating. I have been thinking about it the whole night that I barely sleep a wink and I can’t focus on my work.” She added.   Ofie sighed and pursed her lips. “Should I grab you some iced Americano?” Ofie asked.   Aya pulled her face from her palms and looked at Ofie with puppy eyes. “Please, and two butter croissants,” Aya said and then Ofie smiled and stood up. “Ice Americano and two butter croissants, coming up. And while I’m on it...” Ofie paused and patted the folder she placed on the desk earlier. “Speaking of work, this came in. It’s a spa called Hercules Sparadise, and the boss wants you to make a proposal for the client.” Ofie told her and Aya furrowed her eyebrows as she picks up the folder. “Why me? You could’ve given that to the A-team.” Aya said. “Well, the boss...” Ofie paused pointing her index finger up. “She asked that you handle it personally. Since your campaign with the Blue Marlin Restaurant was a success, they wanted you to handle this account. Apparently, this spa business is related to the restaurant business.” Ofie explained.   Aya leaned back and scanned through the contents of the folder. “Boss wants you to submit a draft of the proposal in three days,” Ofie said and Aya looked at her. “Three days? Is she mental?” Aya blurted and Ofie giggled. “She said it is an urgent matter and let the A-team handle the other accounts. She said you have to focus on that campaign.” Ofie told her and Aya scowled. “Boss loves dumping work on me and pressures me at the same time,” Aya grumbled. “She just knows how good you are with your job.”      Aya huffed and placed the folder back on the table. “Go and get me my coffee if you want my brain to start working,” Aya said, closing her eyes as she leaned back on her chair. “Yep, coffee coming up,” Ofie said smiling and left the office.   Once she heard the door closes, Aya opened her eyes and grabbed the folder. She started reading the contents while taking notes on her notepad.    
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