It isn’t until the next day when I am sitting at my office desk at BNP, that the Wizard cat appears again out of nowhere to have a little chat. I glance around and notice there are not too many people at work. It is the holiday season anyway. Not sure what my colleagues would make of me talking to a floating cat.
“Hi Fiona,” the Wizard gives me a full grin. “Sorry I was out. I did listen to all you were saying to me yesterday, you know. Pleased to hear Wim is still alive. Yes, he will be in pain for a few weeks yet but will recover. Well life has a way of changing when we are not looking. You will adapt to not having a nanny anymore and find that you can organize yourself and kids better then you thought possible. Try not to be too politically correct all the time and things will work out just fine. Why did the ex-wife of Intermizzo contact you? What did the New Zealand Lady want?”
Aha, so I did get his attention. Only yesterday was not the right moment to have any kind of conversation with me. I was so nerved up about my Wim.
“Yes I am realizing I will manage fine without my Star,” I confess brightly. “I don’t want to fire her, and I can’t anyway, but useless keeping her around if she doesn’t bring in more value or money. What a horrible thing of me to say… Tomorrow I am going to find out if I can reduce her hours at least, else I am paying her for nothing and having to work harder for it myself. Will see. Belgian law is terrible when it comes to employees and being pregnant.”
“I would think the ‘ziekenfonds’ takes over if she is not available to work longer than a month,” the Wizard tells me boredly. In Belgium, we have a social security system called ‘ziekenfonds’ which is something like national health insurance. It covers medical costs when you are ill and entitles employees to paid sick leave.
“The Intermizzo lady is just lost after her divorce,” I start out with the easiest subject for me to discuss. “She is reaching out and trying to make a life again. I would actually make a great coach. Or I might, with your help perhaps.”
“I see,” the Wizard gazes out of the office window. We’re up on the 9th floor and a nice view over Brussels. “Give it a go. The trick is to remain impartial and not allow your experience to influence your conversation. So just ask questions and allow her to lead the conversations. You must make her become aware of her part of the relationship and what she needs to change to move into her present.”
“Oh the Star hasn’t said she can’t work,” I correct the Wizard on my most poignant issue at hand. “She will just not take care of Willem anymore. So I am really not sure where I stand legally. I think she thinks she’ll continue working but she won’t pick up the baby. I have to be informed before I make a decision. I don’t want to fire her but am hoping I can reduce her hours.”
“Still fucking a Batman would be a huge mistake,” the Wizard spits out.
“What?!” I exclaim a little too loud, but what he said just got the better of me. Maybe I heard him wrong.
“A barman. You know, a waiter,” the Wizard looks at me surprised.
“Who is fucking Batman?” I exclaim again, my voice raising higher in surprise. And then I twig on to the lapsus. “Oh she did that?”
“The gossip is Intermizzo’s wife ran off with a waiter,” the Wizard informs me. “You know, a barman.”
“And then the New Zealand woman,” I go on telling the Wizard all about the subjects which are pressing on my mind, ignoring the latest local gossip. “Well she contradicted herself a bit…”
“No her money has come to an end,” the Wizard however will not be diverted from the original subject.
“Ah the relationship with the barman is over and NOW she is lost,” I have suddenly gained insight into what has been going on.
“Yes,” the Wizard nods.
“Her money?” I still think I’m confused. We’re talking about the Intermizzo ex-wife, right. Or was the Wizard already referring to the New Zealand lady… “Who’s money?”
“Jesus Fiona what are you taking?” the Wizard lets out an angry growl as he straightens himself on his pink fluffy cloud. “Are we having five different conversations here or should I just not respond to anything as it’s late and you can’t follow, but prefer to just talk as though I am there.”
“The New Zealand woman, the Butterfly lady, apologised,” I go on to explain myself, because I don’t like it when the Wizard gets annoyed. Before you know it, he’ll pull another disappearing act on me. “She said she had me mixed up with another Fiona she had met on a yoga retreat in India, but my blog has my pictures all over it, and she mentioned that terrible interview with Marta, so she saw me and must have known all along which Fiona I am.”
“Her ex has cut her off,” the Wizard has calmed down again and is adamant to finish off our first conversation, to my utter frustration. “He shares nothing with her. Intermizzo was declared bankrupt and sold to Damion.”
“This IS Alice in Wonderland!” I cry out for joy. Finally remembered which story this all reminded me of. “How marvellous.”
“Ok I am off to bed now,” the Wizard is clearly trying to control his temper, but failing to conceal it. His pink fluffy cloud has turned a strange shade of purple.
“Don’t get annoyed with me,” I plead. “Sometimes you don’t make sense”
“I know,” the Wizard is livid with anger. “It is 2am here. Sorry 3am.”
“Wait a min…” I really would like the Wizard to stick around just a little bit longer. “Sold to Damion? Who’s that? Not Mohan and Nisha then? Ok sleep tight. Just don’t show up then… I can’t sleep now because I’m at work. But you can. Bye bye.”
* Disclaimer : Any resemblance between the fictional characters in this story and any persons, living or dead, is a miracle by chance more than by choice.