Preparing To Leave

Thursday 23 October, 2003

I woke up wondering what last night was all about. So much resolution to act, and yet this morning it seems to have weakened. I thought more about what I need to do and quickly got back into the frame of mind I was in last night. I need to sort things out. First I tried to phone Ishwar but it was engaged. I went for a walk in the crisp sunshine of Autumn, phoning Ishwar from phone boxes along the way. It remained engaged and then, at the end, there was no answer. Nevertheless, I was beginning to feel lighter and more relaxed at the prospect of leaving here, and spent the day making preparations.

In the early evening, I updated my appraisal. As I worked, Karaj was behind me putting the finishing touches to the letter about my future for tomorrow’s hearing. If I leave I am to be out by the 15th November. Well, at least I know. And at least the process is moving forward. Soon it will all be over. Maintain my dignity, that’s the important thing for me. I may regret leaving here one day but any regret will be eased if I can walk out of here with my head held high knowing that I did not descend into manipulative, devious back biting.

I walked to Swanshurst Park again and tried to phone Francis on the way, but got no answer. I called Aubrey with a view to popping round and chatting to him about what I’m going through, but again no answer. I picked up a leaflet about coaches from London to Frankfurt: 15 hours, £53. That’s that sorted. I sat quietly in the park overlooking the still, silent lake. I tried both Francis and Aubrey again but there was no answer. I’m feeling good about leaving. A little negative about how Francis might react to my call and my cry for help, but however that works out will not make a difference to my decision to leave.

On my walk back to the house, I phoned Ed and talked to him about my decision. He reassured me that four years in a job is more than most people manage, and more than he has managed. He stressed that I have to go with my instinct and that if I need a break, he has a place for me. It was good to talk to him.

I continued on my walk home and spoke to Francis. He said there is a place for me in Frankfurt if I need it. I need it. Francis is well, getting on with the humdrum nature of life. He was delighted to hear from me and I told him that a lot has happened with me over the last year and we will talk about it when I see him.

He re-iterated that I am not using my language skills and I reminded him that we will work together on something or other. He seemed relieved to hear that, because he’s had enough of the corporate game. He can see right through it now and is looking forward to the day he can leave it behind. It was lovely to talk to him and know that I can turn to him at a time when there is nowhere else to go and nowhere else I would want to go. I told him it only remains for me to keep quiet until the hearing and then leave.

It was late when I returned to the house. Dev, Simran and Calvin were still there working. When I walked in they seemed not to know what to do with themselves. They were finalising Karaj’s letter about me. I told them not to be self-conscious about the fact that they are dictating my future. Simran responded succinctly, ‘It’s a job.’ His conciliatory tone made me realise I had spoken out of turn and I said as much. I helped them with the corrections before leaving them to it.

The letter is a cutting one which says, among other things, that I am arrogant and have not met any of the minimum standards in anything I have done over the past year. The last lines I read before I went were Karaj’s comments about me being arrogant and having made a return to my old ways of baiting Christians and Asians. I shook my head and asked, ‘When have I ever baited Asians?’ Simran looked at me as if to say, ‘Don’t ask me, please.’ I simply asked him peacefully to tell me if I have. He couldn’t. I said goodnight. I wish I had said nothing about it because now that part will be taken out.

Upstairs, I rested and watched some TV to take my mind off my situation. But that only delayed the inevitability of having to turn off the lights and go to sleep wondering when the meeting will finally take place. I have put a lot of things in place today for my return to Germany: money, transport and accommodation. All I really have to do now is pack, which I’ll do tomorrow, when my departure is made official.


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