Maria wrapped her hands around her coffee cup to warm them.
“So, tell me…how did it go?” Jane asked Maria, as she handed her son a coloring book and some crayons, and moved her coffee out of his reach.
“I’m not sure,” Maria said.
“Well, was it a good interview? Do you think you gave the answers they wanted?”
“I’m not sure,” Maria said and slumped back in her chair.
“Oh, come on. It couldn’t have been that bad,” Jane tried to be encouraging. She turned to her son, “No, no…only in the book…not on the table.”
“It’s just that it’s been so long since I’ve been out of the workforce, you know?” Maria said.
“Oh, I’m sure that won’t matter that much. You have the experience they’re looking for.”
“Yeah, but from 200 years ago!” Maria said and laughed.
Jane laughed at Maria’s exaggeration.
Maria sighed. “I don’t know. Part of me is excited to go back to work now that the kids are in school full time, but the other part of me wants to be home for them. I hate the idea of sending them to daycare. I should be helping them with their homework, not some stranger.”
“I’m sure there will be plenty of homework for you to help with. Besides, don’t a lot of their friends go to the same afterschool care?” Jane asked.
“What about the job? You’re scared, aren’t you,” Jane said.
“I hate to admit it, but yes, I am. I haven’t had to work for anyone in a long time. I’ve been the one telling people, well, little people that is, what to do for the past ten years. I don’t even know if I remember how to take orders from someone else,” Maria said.
“Sure you do. I’ve seen you take orders from Sarah all the time!” Jane teased.
“Oh, please! I don’t take orders from my 14 year old.”
Jane raised her eyebrow.
“Okay, okay, maybe sometimes I do. But don’t you dare tell her that!” Maria admitted.
“Mama…other book, other book,” Jane’s son insisted.
“I see you have your own dictator,” Maria teased.
Jane frowned at her as she got out another coloring book for her son.
Maria’s phone rang, and she looked at the number. She put her finger to her lips, and Jane told her son to be quiet.
“This is Maria,” she answered, and listened.
Jane kept her son occupied and watched Maria’s face for any indication.
“Yes, I’d be happy to. Okay. Okay. Thank you. I’ll talk to you then. Bye,” Maria said.
“Well?” Jane asked.
“I got a second interview!” Maria exclaimed.
“I knew you could! See, I told you! When do they want to see you again?” Jane asked.
“Tomorrow morning,” Maria said. She let it sink in.
“How does going back to work sound now?” Jane asked.
“It sounds pretty good, actually. Look, I better go. I have to find something different to wear tomorrow. I haven’t had to wear a skirt for two days in a row in a long time! I’ll call you tomorrow, okay?” Maria said as she got up. She waved to Jane’s son on her way out.
“Bye!” Jane called after her, but she was already out the door.
“Bye bye,” Jane’s son imitated.
Jane smiled at her son, grateful that she had a few more years before she’d have to go back to work, but excited for her friend. She picked up a crayon and helped her son color his picture.