This is not goodbye, my darling, this is a thank you. Thank you for coming into my life and giving me joy” – Nicholas Sparks

It was already March and Mrs. Benda was in Paris for another convention.  She loved going away and meeting with new people and showing off as she was doing splendidly for a Canadian distributor.  While she was away, I tried my best to hide my frustration from my staff.  I was rehearsing in my mid how to get Mrs. Benda to listen to me.  At the same time I was questioning myself if am I taking the right action.  I was assessing the realities I was faced with:

  1. I had to make two monthly mortgage payments;
  2. Lynda needed the house-keeping money every month; and
  3. There wasn’t any significant amount left in our saving account;

Perhaps more importantly, I wasn’t trained to be a diplomatic negotiator to deal with ticklish situations tactfully.  I knew that I had Lynda’s support but didn’t want to abuse the privilege of having her support.  Only last year I had put her through a painful process when I left Beaver Lumber Company.  In any case, I had a couple of more days to wait for Mrs. Benda to return from Paris which provided me with some additional time that I needed desperately.

The next Monday, when I saw Mrs. Benda, I said I know you are busy but I need to see you for a few minutes.  She said I wanted to see you, too.  She said do you want to do lunch?  I said no, I got to take care of something.  She said how about around 5:00.  I said can you make it 4:00 as Lynda wanted me to be home around 5:00 kids got something at the school.  She said 4:00 will be fine. 

As soon as I got in her office and sat down she said did you know that everybody in the office likes you.  Even my husband likes you.  I said it is nice to know.  She said your’ doing a great job, Mir.  I said thank you.  She called Sandy and when Sandy came into the office she had two beautiful gift velvet bags in her hands which she put them on the table in front of me.  I said what’s this?  Mrs. Benda said just open it. When I opened one bag and saw a huge bottle of Harvey’s Bristol cream.  I said what’s that for?  She said that’s for you for doing a nice job. I was about to say something; she interrupted me and asked me to open the other bag.  I opened the other bag and the first thing I saw was a great big bottle of Estee Lauder Spray bottle for ladies and various cosmetic bits and pieces.  I said obviously this isn’t for me.  She said for Lynda. I was speechless.  I didn’t know what to say.  She said I got one more thing for Lynda from Paris.  She got up and went to her closet to pick a nice plastic dress-bag which she gave it to me.  She said don’t open it.  Let Lynda see it first.  Probably my mouth was open but nothing came out more meaningful than thank you. All of a sudden, Sandy entered the office and said somebody from Paris is on line for her.  Mrs. Benda said sorry, Mir.  I was waiting for this call.  I decided to get up and leave her office.

When I got home the very first question Lynda had for me was, did you get to talk to her.  I said I got something in the car you need to take a look at before I explain the situation. While I went to our bedroom to get changed she went to get the bags from the car and opened them.  When I got back in the living room, she said what the hell’s going on.  She had already opened the dress-bag and had a beautiful pure silk red blouse on.  She said what I would like to know how the hell she knew my size.  I said I don’t know, babe.  She must have guessed it and it fits you perfect.  She said it’s very expensive designer blouse we definitely cannot afford.  She said I am not surprised about Harvey’s Bristol Cream and Estee Lauder Spray.  At the Christmas party, when you were chatting with the boys, Sandy and I were having a quite conversation and something came up when I mentioned that you and me both like Harvey’s Bristol Cream and somehow I also mentioned that my favorite fragrance was Estee Lauder Spray. 

I told Lynda that I was completely prepared today to have a heart to heart with Mrs. Benda at least to let her know that I don’t feel comfortable to keep pretending that everything is hunk dory with us. But how can I possibly start that kind of conversation when she is treating us with such a benevolence.   

Lynda said I understand how you feel.  She said I also understand your hesitation for rushing for an unpleasant conversation with her. Perhaps the question is – can you put up with the situation for little longer.  I said I guess I will have to.  The fact of the matter’s that everything appeared to be smoothly running in the office.  It just has to do with my conscious, I said. 

I went back to work the next day and tried to focus on my schedule.  Mrs. Benda just popped in my office and said sorry about yesterday.  She said the guy who called yesterday was the president of some company in Paris who’s in the market for finding a company to represent them in Canada and he had a couple of questions about our company and its reputation.  It looks very favourable for us.  Anyhow, would you like to get together now?  I said not really.  She said let me tell you another good news.  Currently, we live in an apartment and we are in the process of buying a house and I need to take some time off to go through the process.  I will be available on the phone and if necessary I can pop in in case of any emergency.  I said its wonderful news and you go ahead and do whatever needed to be done.   She said as soon as we get the house, I will invite you and Lynda over for a meal. I said I am already looking forward to it.   

Our Story – Chapter 26