1.27 – Stressed


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After months of work, opening day was finally upon us. I’d loved every second of it. The designing, the making of the schedules, getting to come up with my own routines – even being stuck in a headstand while someone took photos for our website was enjoyable, despite the blood rush.

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I didn’t even have time to straighten my hair most days, so I just stopped. It was strange to abandon a habit I’d been started on at eight, but I like it curly. It was Clarissa who didn’t…and I don’t heed any of her advice anymore.

I had a full schedule of classes and a lot of nerves building up within me. Now the pressure was on me to not completely screw it up. Kaylyn, though she loved yoga and fitness, had a lot else on her plate. Her role was putting in capital, plus a little financial management. She and Vaughn had other investments to deal with. So I was managing this place.

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“Hey.” Kaylyn gently shook my shoulder. “Chin up. Look – we did all this!”

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“I’m nervous.” I admitted.

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“I drowned the nerves in a glass of wine.” Kaylyn joked. “I get it, though. It’s normal to be nervous – you’re running your own business, that’s crazy and scary and all! But Sarai, in all the time I’ve known you I’ve never seen you give less than 100%! So you’re gon’ crush this, sweetie. And it’s not just you. You’re not alone. We’ve got our team, remember?” Her eyes shone like she really did believe in me. Why? Why would she do that? Why would she go into business with you? This doesn’t make sense. You screw things up.

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This has been going well so far, I reminded myself.

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Our team – Mikhail, Cherie and Ann – filing into the studio stopped the impending thought-spiral. Kaylyn had invited them all in for drinks before we opened tomorrow.

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“Cheers.” Ann, the studio hostess, said, clinking glasses with Kaylyn. “I need this job, and this place looks amazing. Thanks for the opportunity.”

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“Doesn’t it!” Mikhail, a very muscular instructor with a background in Pilates, exclaimed. “I’m pretty damn excited, I gotta say!”

Cherie, our final instructor, and in charge of  the meditation sessions tacked onto the end of some classes, silently nodded her agreement.

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“To the Lotus Flower!” Kaylyn cheered. She drained her glass and set it down. I drank from my own and tried to ignore the growing anxiety gnawing at my stomach.

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It was so fucking real. For a good five seconds after I woke up, I was sure that I was back in that apartment, destined to live there forever.

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It reminded me of the nightmares I had when I was younger. Clarissa would put me into the street and I’d be alone, and then nobody would want me. It probably didn’t help that Clarissa was wholly unsympathetic when I snivelled my way through the next morning. Then, like all kids, I grew out of that.

Waking up, almost in tears, after dreaming something so relevant to my life made me feel like that scared kid stuck under her cold, cruel aunt again.

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I applied a thick layer of concealer under my eyes and pulled my hair up, leaving it curly. Then I put on my new set of workout gear and prepared myself to face the day.

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Because adults can’t cry through a morning. Adults have to get up and face the day like nothing even happened. And I’m a successful adult with my own business. Ha, successful? Don’t count your chickens before they hatch. And it’s Kaylyn’s anyway, you were too fucking broke. And you will be once you fail.

I took a deep breath and left for my first class.

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Was I off my game? Each class brought a few words of praise. Maybe they were just being polite. They’d probably never come back. Kaylyn and Vaughn had emphasised over and over again that we needed a strong client base to succeed.

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And you offered to get that – you, the girl who could never get anyone to stick around. How many people left you? How many did you leave?

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I don’t need to think about that. Dianne, Kaylyn, Alexis, Lachlan, Michael, Uncle Miles, Aunt Adela. They had stuck around for a while now.

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But memories kept on flooding my brain, washing over me in a painful haze, reminding me of how greatly they were outweighed by those who were no longer in my life. At several points I had to take deep breaths, just so I didn’t cry, because there would be no coming back from that one.

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Between the morning and lunchtime classes, I locked myself in the office. Ann went on her break. I sat with my head in my hands and took quick, heavy breaths. Pull yourself together. You can’t fuck this up. You can’t!

Someone knocked on the door.

“I’m busy!” I breathlessly called. “Just – uh -”

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“Yeah, I get it.” I recognised the voice as Lachlan’s. Why was he here? It’s not like he cares, he got the property leased after all. Wait, that’s fucking stupid, why would he have kept up a friendship for months after the fact if that was the case? “Can I tempt you with a smoothie break then? Mixed berry’s your favourite, right?” He sounded so hopeful, and I knew I couldn’t leave him hanging, not if he’d come all this way. The place down the road is also excellent…

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“OK.” I came out of the office.

“How are you doing?” he asked.

“Fine.” I answered, after a moment’s hesitation.

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He raised an eyebrow. “Are you sure?”

You must look like a real fucking mess.

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“I’m s – OK, well I’m stressed. I’m really fucking stressed. Everything just feels wrong.” The words tumbled out of my mouth, and guilt began to eat at me. Lachlan didn’t come here for this.

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“Of course you’re stressed! You – it’s the first day of your new business. That’s pretty stressful. But remember what I said? This – what you’re doing here – that’s cool as hell. I’d never have the balls to work for myself.”

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I managed to crack a smile. “Thanks, but…I don’t know, it’s…it’s pressure.” I sounded like a gabbling idiot. Why did he put up with me? Why wasn’t he halfway out the building by now?

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“Of course. Look – businesses fail, that’s a fact of life. I don’t think yours will. I just saw loads of people leave.”

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“It’s just the first day. And Lachlan – I can’t let them down!”I burst out, close to angry tears. I didn’t want to shout at him and be a bitch like I used to – and still sometimes am – but why wouldn’t he get it?

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“No matter what, you’ll still have the people who matter in your life. And you – you, Sarai Hayes – have not failed if you did everything in your power to help your studio. And from what I know, you’ve worked your ass off. You’ve already succeeded, OK?” He took a breath. “Phew. Dunno where that came from. But you’re amazing, and this place is amazing – and I wanna buy your largest class bundle.”

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“Thanks.” I mumbled. Suddenly, I had fallen into his arms.

Yeah, right. If you fuck this up, you’re the fuckup. 

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“Seriously, Sarai. You’re doing great.” he whispered into my hair, and despite the anxiety growing within me, I smiled.



7 thoughts on “1.27 – Stressed

  1. Ohhhhh. Lachlan! Thank goodness for him. Such a good friend. And I think he’d like to be more than a friend. That’s why he keeps coming around. But he seems to be able to read her understand when she needs space, when she needs a push and mostly when she needs encouraging words and a hug! ❤️❤️😍

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ah, this is such a big deal. I’m so proud of Sarai and the others for getting this business running! Sarai seems to notice now when she’s having self-destructive thoughts, which is good, and Lachlan is becoming a pretty great friend… I can only see things getting better from here.

    Liked by 1 person

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