She started smoking – a lot. So much that she now had yellow nicotine stains on her fingers and fingernails. For the first time in her life, Sara was having mixed feelings about her love for her work. Journalism, writing in general, was all she had ever dreamed of, though she had to find a way to escape. Every morning she promised herself that she would never set foot again in that horrible place, but by evening she’d forget everything. And yes it was true, news about culture was indeed scarce.
Maybe Andi was right.
"Hey Sara, do you have any news for us?” Her colleague Petrit had appeared beside her computer. He stared down at her while cleaning his teeth with a twig.
“I saw you walking around the National Theatre yesterday. I really felt sorry for you. Such a shame, a beautiful girl like that walking around the streets of Tirana with no purpose. Did you notice all those old men staring at you? Well, well Sara, that’s far too much excitement for these old men. I thought. I hope they took their heart pills!”
She looked up at him but didn’t answer. It was always better to say nothing.
“Give it up already, young lady,” he continued. “Can’t you see you’re not getting anywhere with the Culture News? You can barely make ends meet with your salary."
“How do you know what my salary is?” Sara almost screamed, hating the fact that her face was burning up again.
He laughed. “Oh come on, everybody knows how little you earn. It's no secret that you’re the most underpaid employee here. Now, if you’re nice to me, and you know what I mean by that, I’ll be sure to put in a good word for you with the boss.”
Petrit was in front of her now, his right hand twirling a lock of her hair that had fallen loose on to her shoulder. Sara stood up, pushing his hand away and walked so quickly towards the toilets that she was almost running.
Hiding in a cubicle she fought to stop her tears from falling. She was tired of the men in her office: she hated Petrit circling around her all the time. It was quite obvious that his life was hell. Even worse than Sara’s. Petrit spent most of his time at the office: he would go home when his wife and their daughters were already asleep and left before they’d wake up. Sara knew, everybody did. She had seen other colleagues sitting on his lap, but Sara was never going to be one of them.
How is any of this my fault? she thought, rubbing her eyes with the cuff of her blouse. She needed to find a way to break out of the trap her life had become. I can’t even tell Sokol. He’d kill him, or get killed. There is no escape from this hell. But then, if I quit my job now, I will be in the same shit I was in two years ago.Sara hated to admit it, but she was never going to find a decent job unless she asked her friend Alba for help. And that was the last thing she wanted to do...