Tired of ignoring me and of being ignored, the scorned woman worked herself into as mighty an indignation as all her insincerity could muster. I did not see her approach my desk, but her voice right in my ear calling my name made me look up and greet her with a mixture of pleasant surprise and calmness.
Her voice wavered, she anxiously stammered out her demand. "I'm leaving in ten minutes. Are we gonna talk or what."
The confrontation was relocated to a conference room, away from prying eyes and overhearing ears.
She settled across the table from me and fixed me a hateful glare, which she could not long sustain. I was amused by her, how she was trying to act the victim, hoping to bring me to heel with the sheer fury of her affected outrage at my "accusations."
I held her gaze as her stream of grievances gained rapidity and her animated gestures all over the conference table stretched my smile.
At length she too began to suppress a smile. Then, unable to meet my incredulous gaze any longer, she was forced to close her eyes to maintain her indignation.
She detected that the battle was lost already, but even a dying horse has some kicks to kick. Desperation drove her argument into far-fetched premises and non-sequitur conclusions. It was then that all apprehensions that I had about this degenerating into an ill-tempered shouting match, they all retreated and took cover behind her closed eyelids.
More words came out of her mouth but they had ceased to register sense in my brain. What I did decipher from the jumbled, rambling protestations of innocence was not an inkling innocence, but the feeling that she cared enough to give it a shot despite obvious stage fright in the glare of my steady gaze.
It warmed my heart.