Melissa took a deep breath and straightened her black pencil skirt for the nth time. It was a hot summer day, and wearing a suit was just not comfortable. Maybe this whole new career thing was a bad idea after all. No; job meant money, money meant food, food meant life. A job was vital for her independence, and if all secretarial jobs were gone, then it meant moving on to pastures new. She gave herself a final run-down of behaviour, Sit up straight, be polite, be confident, remember that you are the best person for this job, and went through the door.
She smiled politely at the man behind the desk at the far end of the darkened room, then walked briskly over to him, sitting as he indicated. She had noticed him stiffen when he first saw her, but she was used to that by now.
He cleared his throat awkwardly, and started asking her a few questions about why she was interested in managerial work. She handed him her CV and replied, confidently, that she thought she would find it interesting and challenging, and enjoyed that immensely, which, while not a complete lie, wasn't a complete truth either. To be honest, it petrified her, but that was something to be put up with and conquered in her book.
Not that it mattered. The man hardly skimmed her references, and didn't seem to hear a word she was saying. She was determined not to let it faze her. This man would see she was the best person for the job, surely. Seven years of secretarial work in various reputable companies must stand for something.
But no, finally he cleared his throat again and apologetically told her that she didn't quite have the same level of experience and qualification as the other applicants, but he hoped she would be successful in future job-hunting.
He didn't look at her as she silently got up and left.
She couldn't leave crying, so she found the Ladies' and decided to stay there until the tears subsided. But thay wouldn't. The questions just ran around and around in her head. How could the True Equality Corporation justify employing a bigot like the one who just 'interviewed' her? It was sickening.
But the difference was, his racism was legal, because she wasn't of a different race. Her parents weren't from a minority, they were middle-class whites living in a good area of London. She wasn't adopted, but of their own flesh and blood, so how did she end up like this?
She ran her purple hands through her purple hair, and couldn't stop crying.
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