I am blonde

When I dumb myself down, I sell myself short and lose out on opportunities.

“In fact you could be Francis,” I eye the Doctor suspiciously. “The blog is well written, talks about anxiety and depression, about taking off the mask and welcoming change.”

I am talking to him as I am talking to him as I am nonchalantly skimming my mails. One mail in particular catches my eye and I start jumping up and down excitedly. “Oh my God! Google is offering 150k annually. That’s worth thinking about. Paid holiday, paid sick leave, benefits. Still a slave, but a star slave with a lot of visibility.”

“Yes indeed,” the Doctor nods approvingly, his smile reaching almost ear to ear. “Worth the security I would think. Exec salary. In fact you could employ me.”

“I could,” I look at him with pure excitement shimmering from every part of my body. “Would need a great mentalist on board. Any questions I should be asking? What do I need to negotiate?”

“Would be wiser to ask Wim,” the Doctor cautions me. “But to get you thinking. Length of contract with penalty clause if they fire you. Perks like car, med insurance for the family. Share options. Pension contribution. And scope.”

What I admire the most in my friend is his ability to go into any social situation and sense the level of consciousness in that situation. His friendship is a gift. It enables me to move considerately in a world that holds all kinds of people. Although I am unable to shift my energy to accommodate people, I have caught myself out dumbing myself down to a regrettable degree. Sometimes, when I get into a particular social situation, I feel pressure to play it small in order to fit in. These are situations where everyone is drinking or smoking excessively, engaging in gossipy small talk, or complaining bitterly. I notice this and modify my expectations, but never entirely join in.

Where do you fit in, do you know?

Fiona

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Are you standing in front of a closed door?

Where I am in my life right now is a result of all the doors I have walked through, all the decisions I have made. My continued self development depends on my willingness to keep moving into new spaces. My grandmother used to tell me that when you find yourself in a space where all the doors are closed to you, God will always open a window…

“What’s wrong with Doc Oz?” my best friend asks me bewildered.

“Doc Oz is cat on a cloud,” I explain my need for change. “I like you being Bakerman for some time. Like the song. I want to come out of lala-land. Dorothy has gone away. Daily bread is closer to Jesus. But bread makes me fat. Oh come on, be a sport.”

“Ok,” my friend shrugs his shoulders and looks at me expectantly of what is to come.

When an opportunity presents itself to you, welcome it. Walk through that open door. Trust that everything happens for a reason and you have been guided to it. Sometimes I have a tendency to overanalyze or agonize over the decisions I have made, but it is a waste of time to second guess yourself. It is much more beneficial to simply go through the door and discover what’s there. Even if it doesn’t seem right at first, opening this door may lead to another door that will take you where you need to go. Nothing is written in stone. Mistakes can be corrected. Contracts are made to be broken.

I have passed so many doors in my life, leading me to new relationships, jobs, friendships, and creative inspirations. Every time I walk through an open door, I create my memory encourages me to move into the new fearlessly. When I enter a new space, I feel a thrill of confidence. I love stepping across the threshold into a new life. What about you?

Fiona

Toxic flashback

The next morning and  my mood has swung 180 degrees the other direction. A dark cloud glooms over me as I answer my front door the following morning.

“Hi. I’m nowhere there yet,” I shake my head restlessly looking down at my doorstep as if expecting something interesting to materialize there. “Found out all my cousins are staying at my mom’s in summer to go out drinking. I messaged them to tell them my mom is too old to entertain them. I got a nasty message back. Feel like pooh. Everyone treats me like pooh. You know there’s a saying. If at first you don’t succeed, try again, and again, and again. Then stop trying and run because it’s never going to work.”

“Ok two comments,” Bakerman snaps at me. “One. Your mother is not too old. Stop putting your issues on her. It’s her choice if she wants to entertain your cousins. Two.  if at first you don’t succeed don’t try again. Find a better way until you find a way that works.”

“Hmmmm,” I shrug half-hearted.

“Yes indeed,” Bakerman insists sternly.

“I never get it right though, do I?” I look at him in pure desperation. “Very frustrating.”

My home is my safe haven. This is where I unwind, recharge and dream in the warm comfort and safety of my house. This allows me to better face the challenges life continuously throws my way. I am equally aware how my thoughts and stories influence the little people, and others, who share my space with me. Regardless of what I lived through in the past, it is important to make an effort to create the peace I desire in my own sacred space. In a way that supports everyone.

Communicating and listening with respect to my friends and loved ones, allows me to take out the garbage of my inner space and keep my place clean and enjoyable. Meditation and yoga help me to accomplish clear energy.

The bottom line is to remember to clean up our energies, our thoughts and our habits to bring home peace and love to benefit both ourselves and everyone around us.

Drinks & parties

I often turn to Bakerman, my BFF, to ping pong my thoughts as a guide to meet my life obligations. Oftentimes I question myself if that is the correct way to behave in society. Yet there is no user manual to life, and even if there is one, I never even got anything near to a sneak preview of it. So I rely on the viral buzz of what I hear around me, the feedback I get from loved ones and friends in order to wing it through this thing called life.

“That weird customer has immediately paid my invoice after my message,” I tell Bakerman feeling happy with myself. “What does that mean?”

“Blackmail?” Bakerman raises an alarming eyebrow at me as he moves restlessly around my kitchen that evening.

“Haha. Not funny,” I smirk back. “Feel sorry for my mother. She’s a poor little old lady.”

“Did you put a spell on her?” Bakerman keeps eyeing me suspicious of every little reaction or telltale sign my body language might give off.

“No I swear I didn’t,” I answer a little too serious for that type of question.

“What makes her a little old lady?” Bakerman wants to know, his eyes moving up in obvious rememberance of her. “Have you mentioned to your brother to pull his weight for change?”

“We don’t see each other or talk to each other, so no,” I tell him firmly. “She is 67, anorexic thin, no money to spend, sour, by herself, not looking happy or healthy. That makes her a poor little old lady.”

“Did you spend her pension?” Bakerman won’t give up teasing me. “Send her a fruit basket with a note. Carpe diem.”

“I wish,” I sigh into my tea cup. “Haha pretty good, will do. She spends all her money on fatty.”

“Oh well. If she must then she must,” Bakerman states flatly. “Send Fatty a box of seeds to plant. With a note, work never killed anyone.”

“If she must what?” I look up at him surprised.

“Spend her money on Fatty,” Bakerman repeats.

“Haha will do that too,” I smile heartily. “Ok I’m jealous. He always gets spoiled, the brat.”

“Do you think he will understand the concept of what you sow you reap?” Bakerman questions me. He obviously has a plan but I fail to see the big picture just yet.

“He got beaten the hardest so I guess he deserves it now,” I remember those bad old days vividly. The thought alone makes me uneasy and I reach into the cupboard for a piece of chocolate to nibble on. “She will understand.”

“Ok send peppers and beans,” Bakerman nods decidedly.

“Peppers and beans?” I can’t believe what I am hearing.

“Yes,” Bakerman sips his tea undisturbed by the strangeness of this conversation.

“Jack and the bean stalk?” I ask him.

“Yes,” Bakerman continues sipping his tea.

“Peppa Pig?” I ask again to be really sure I got this right.

“Yes,” Bakerman puts his cup down and holds my gaze.

I burst out into a fit of hysteric laughter which lasts a good five minutes.

“Very good,” Bakerman encourages my uplift in spirit.

“Fun!” I finally manage to breathe between giggles.

“Bought a mixing machine today,” Bakerman changes the subject back to his entrepreneurial ideas. “Water is being turned on tomorrow in the kitchen. Things are moving again. Hope to start production soon.”

“This is exciting,” I say and I notice I am tapping my foot without thinking about it. “Do you have a tea room to receive guests?”

“Yes,” Bakerman nods proudly. “I will make samples for photos on Friday and test the oven.”

“Oh fun, just you or will you have help?” I urge him to tell me more about his plans.

“No. I will supply four tearooms to see if their clients will buy the product,” Bakerman lays out the basic steps of his business plan. “Just me for now.”

“Even better, no hassle to clean up,” I point out the positives as they would be for myself. “Pity though, you’re really good talking to people.”

“That’s for later,” Bakerman winks at me.

“Yes,” I smile relieved to hear that idea is still on the table. “I’m happy for you that things are looking up.”

“Have you eaten and bathed the kids yet?” Bakerman beyond my shoulder into the living room at my young brood.

“Have eaten,” I nod looking fondly over my shoulder at my little darlings.

“Did you blackmail your client for a higher price?” Bakerman almost catches me unawares on that issue again.

“Made saumon today. Delicious,” I answer to the question of what I made for my littles earlier on. “No I didn’t.”

“Why not?” Bakerman is always teasing.

“I just told him what I told you yesterday,” I am annoyed he would question my integrity. “Because that’s not right.”

Marshmallow,” Bakerman throws at me with a wink and a grin.

“Yup,” I shrug my shoulders as I finish off my cup of tea.

“You will make a wonderful wife,” Bakerman looks at me all stary eyed now.

“I will,” I nod affirmatively. “This year in autumn.”

“Have you started planning yet?” Bakerman prods the plans further.

“No. Well the solicitor,” I look at his astonished as it hadn’t really occurred to me to actually start moving on this at all. “Nothing to plan really. Get a nice dress. Set the date. Go out for a meal. Married. Very simple.”

“No party for me to come too?” Bakerman’s grin is growing wider and his twinkles are apparent.

“Not really,” I say downplaying the aim of his tease. “Maybe a small drink.”

“Do you think Wim will freak out if I kiss the bride?” Bakerman does his best to keep a straight face now.

“Yes. Absolutely yes!” I cry out with a laugh. “That’s grounds for divorce.”

Bakerman lets out a deep laugh and finishes his tea. I much enjoy my daily chats with him. In fact, I believe that everyone has some really good stories inside of them. Every single person. Yes, you too!

Not all of your stories will get written, although they would be a great read indeed. Some of you may have the intention to write your passionate message to the world, but you keep putting it off and then putting it off some more and… Others will find an excuse in writer’s block. And just a simple lack of confidence will stop the other 99% of people reading these lines. Or lack of time. That one is my favourite excuse. And it just makes me sad. Life is an adventure. Like Paolo Coelho famously said : “Live your personal legend.” That’s right, you are legendary.

The best way I have found to learn something is by listening to stories people tell me. Bakerman is full of stories and funnies and anecdotes which get me thinking.

And it’s not just me. Everybody wants to hear your stories. My storyline. Bakerman’s words of wisdom. So be inspiring to those around you. Let your story be heard. If not in writing, in any other way you choose to express yourself. Just do it.

Friendship and love

“Howdi,” I smile as I enter the bakery this Monday afteroon. “Been to see the doctor to check up on my boob pain.” I instantly feel the need to explain why I cancelled my morning delivery of fresh buns. “How are you? Nice weather finally.”

“Hi,” Bakerman smiles at me. “I am fine. Indeed fine weather today. Took a walk along the beach. Do you have a result from the doc?”

“You have an apartment by the sea?” I look at him in amazement, discovering once again something new about my friend. “Wow.”

“Yes,” Bakerman smiles fondly. “I used to live on the black sea.”

“Wow,” for a moment my mind lingers on the joy I find each time I walk along the shoreline and for a moment forgetting the worry about my own personal health. “Probably nothing but hospital scan tomorrow. There’s no lump in any case.”

“Ok. That’s a relief,” Bakerman takes the issue seriously. “Maybe just a reaction to your period.”

“Yes probably something like that,” I do my best to brush off my worry so I turn the subject to other worries. “I’m working my ass off. Can’t wait for the au-pair to arrive. By the time the Star returns I will have a serious business again. Wish I could go for walk by sea. Last time I went was at Easter in Normandy.”

“Soon you will have time again,” Bakerman nods at me encouragingly. “Sounds great that you are busy.”

“Oh glorious quality time with kids,” I smile as my eyes glaze over remembering the good times. “It is great but this is getting too much for long term by myself.”

“Don’t worry you are tough underneath your marshmallow exterior,” Bakerman teases me.

“It should be the other way round,” I ponder a little on what he just told me a little too innocently. “Tough outside and soft within. It should.”

“Yes,” Bakerman confirms eyeing me cautiously.

“How do I reverse that?” I demand to know more.

“Practice,” Bakerman retorts. “It’s all about how you see yourself and think about things and of course behaviour.”

“Hmmm very cryptic,” I go on thinking about the subject. “So I need to stop thinking marshmallow and Tin-Man. Instead I am a chocolate chip cookie with honey inside? That way you mean? Just by how I think about myself? Ok.”

Love and general and relationships in specific are situations we are continuously evaluating. How do we react when we meet love on our path and it asks us to continue the journey together? How do we strike the right balance knowing that love can be both enormously rewarding and endlessly frustrating at the same time? And why is it so damn hard to come to a compromise? Just how much compromising is acceptable and when is it too much?

And what kind of a friend am I to the people closest to me? Who are the people of my inner circle? Friendship is a great promise and is of utmost importance in our daily lives. Because love comes and goes, jobs are found and lost, but friendships are made to last forever.

Or is it the other way round?

* 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.

Go big or do nothing at all

I pop in to see Bakerman after work to cheer him up and to check on how sick he really is. Het is not going well at all, temperature running high and a vague expression on his face. His body and his entire being is clearing his energy field of all the negativity that has accumulated. What I am about to hear is going to call the beginning of a brand-new era in our lives.

“Oh hi,” I greet him as I bustle into his bakery atelier. “My conf call turned out to be postponed. And I’m a bit late.”

“Better than never,” Bakerman smiles meekly, happy to see me.

“So my mother, positive evolution?” I ask him cutting straight to the chase.

“I am going to have a slice of cake and a big cup of tea now,” Bakerman skuttles around his workplace slowly gathering deliciously smelling items. “Do you want some?”

“Yesss please. Chocolate cake?” I am looking around at all the tempting things he has concocted. “Wim is going to start a blog too now. Fun huh.”

“I don’t know,” Bakerman has his back to me as he is shaking and trying carefully to prepare two big mugs of fresh tea. “My job is to help you look at alternatives instead of a single point of view that may or may not be correct.”

“Mmmm lost me,” I sigh as I take a big bite of the chocolate creamy cake he just placed in front of me. “Great cake though.”

“What was the whole reading for your mom?” Bakerman turns to face me now holding out a hot steamy mug of tea. I accept his offer quickly afraid he might spill half of the hot brew in his clumsy sickness.

“She’s financially well off but can’t see it,” I start recounting what the story of my wild unknown tarot cards. “She reaps what she sows with me and my brother. Too much in control. A big change is coming, sudden. And she’ll be upset. But it’s a blessing in disguise. In two years she will meet a new love interest. I told her to do AirBnB for extra income. Or English conversation. Or cake workshops. How to make a blue cake for instance. Hope renewed. Connect to the force within.”

“Was she not an accountant or something?” Bakerman asks as he slowly stirs his tea with a small dainty spoon.

“No she was an administrative assistant at the army,” I tell him. That translates into less than a secretary. “She liked to pretend she was very important.”

“Oh,” Bakerman shrugs as he takes a first sip of his tea.

“And she liked to copy the military,” I could go on forever on details regarding my mother. “She said she never saved for her pension. Can anybody really be so reckless?”

“Yes sure,” Bakerman nods at me unblinkingly.

“She says she only has one income,” I go over the inconsistencies with my best friend. “Does this mean my brother doesn’t contribute to paying the costs of living at home?”

“Of course not,” Bakerman laughs. “Your mother should have put him in a special nursing home years ago.”

“Haha,” I enjoy a good laugh. “Yes she should. I think he only works part time. Lazy sod.”

“The best way to treat your brother is to get him help in finding a job and keeping it then throw him out,” Bakerman eyes me coolly from his puffy red face.

“My mother will never throw him out,” I shake my head looking down at the tea mug resting in my lap. “I told her she should get him to move on. But always excuses.”

“She knows he can’t survive on his own,” Bakerman mocks.

“Yup,” I sigh.

“Make sure you teach your kids the value in achievement,” Bakerman warns me.

“I do all the time,” I smile back at him. “And they do chores.”

“Discipline is very good for kids,” Bakerman confirms.

“Yes I dont want morons like my brother,” I pull a funny face as I think of that genetic failure.

“Does he know he is the village idiot in Turnpoint Mountains?” Bakerman hears all the gossip in town as people come and go in his bakery. “There is another one very similar in Emelo Woods too. Guy is 40 and never worked a day in his life. Lived at home from birth.”

“I don’t think so,” I go on thinking deeply. My mother would have said something if it were the case. “Some call him ‘bambi’. My mother thinks that’s endearing somehow.”

“You should tell him,” Bakerman urges me. his fever clearly rising inside of him. “The whole village knows about him and laughs at him.”

“The village thinks he’s a little old man,” I tell him about the rumours I have heard. “They think he’s my mom’s boyfriend. Nobody believes me when I tell them he’s my brother. They laugh when I say he’s my younger brother. Incredible.”

“It was suggested once that I should offer free treatment for him,” Bakerman is holding my gaze. I remember him offering to talk to my brother last year, but that was the other brother.

“Yes you should,” I push him a little. I’m starting to wonder how much of the fever is actually doing the talking.

“No,” Bakerman shakes his head resolutely. “Incest cases are not my thing.”

“How is he involved in incest?” I am shocked to my core. Is there a simple way to talk to a man delirious with fever? “You mean with my mother? Now it is weird how they live together. Go on vacation together.”

“Who knows the truth,” Bakerman shrugs. “Such is the rumour.”

“Sleep in same bed on vacation,” I go over the weird evidence accumulating under my unbelieving eyes. “It is the rumour, I know. But it can’t be true.”

“Why not? I had a case like this long ago,” Bakerman remembers sourly. “Father and son were fighting all the time. Fist fighting and father couldn’t figure it out. Son was fucking mother and became possessive. Mother preferred fucking son. Son is now living in a mental institution as he is screwed up from this. Both parents are dead now. He has been a basket case for years. Hated having to submit a report to the authorities.”

“Oh my that sounds bad,” I shake my head. I know I can’t cope with even hearing about such things. I’d rather live in my peaceful little world, without drama and terrible stories only my birth family could come up with. “I couldn’t cope with cases like that.”

“Yes,” Bakerman nods solemnly. “Who is your brothers father?”

“I can’t even read the newspaper without getting upset,” my head is spinning now and I’ve lost track of the plot. Are we talking about my brother in the UK and the abuse he put up with from Graham? Or my brother here in Belgium? “My stepdad? Fwa-fwaaah.”

“Yes I know,” Bakerman nods mysteriously.

“Frank is his real name,” I go on. “He looks the spitting image of him.”

“Is he in touch with your brother?” Bakerman asks inquisitively.

“Yes but not often now,” I tell him only what I have heard. “He’s drinking again. And very involved with his new Philippino wife and her lot. He never bothers with me and my kids. Sometimes my brothers but not often.”

“Sounds good,” Bakerman smiles.

“Does it?” I pull up my eyebrow at him.

“You don’t need the added aggravation,” Bakerman points out.

“I don’t,” I sigh.

“Your brother just needs to meet a bitch like his mother and he will be off,” Bakerman lets me know it will all be okay.

“Hasn’t happened yet,” I point out the obvious flaw in his statement. “Don’t think he ever will.”

“There must be loads of them in Belgium,” Bakerman has told me before that there are a million more fish in the sea.

“Mother won’t allow it,” I snort. “There are. But what, come home, be quiet for mom?”

“I understand my elder sister is also crazy,” Bakerman reveals part of his story. “She has a boyfriend who is 30 years her junior. He is a paid companion. A gigolo I guess. Fat and useless. Worked six months in his life so far. Yet she hangs onto him as though butter wouldn’t melt in his mouth. Maybe women go crazy when they hit menopause or 60. Maybe they think it will dry up. Even a dog that likes to lick is an option.”

“But he’s her son!” I am starting to feel defensive now. I hate horrible talk and even though I don’t like the lot of them, I won’t stand for nasty talk. “I don’t understand this. I want my children to live full lives. Adventures of their own. Not extensions of myself. Ugh my mom has cats. This is all very dirty, very scary and not healthy.”

“Ah but your autism is different from hers,” Bakerman continues in the same monotone voice. “She see things as possessions. If she can’t own you then you are the problem.”

“I am the problem,” I repeat for myself. “Oh dear, that’s psychopathic.”

“If you blog this please make up names and cities that protect your family,” Bakerman looks at me alarmed.

“Haha,” I laugh as I can’t for the life of me imagine to ever repeat what I have just heard. “Yes true. Like which names? Tweedledum is pretty good.”

“Sure it’s always the same pattern,” Bakerman nods. “Your mother needs to own everyone she is close to. The concept if love is very distant to her. Sex equals love.”

“And the Old-Woman-in-a-Shoe,” I burst out in hysterics now. This conversation has clearly gotten under my skin.

“Yes something like that,” Bakerman is eyeing me with growing concern.

“Ugh disgusting,” I curl my nose. “Now I know where my weird behaviour comes from.”

“Yes,” Bakerman confirms.

“Or how I thought I had to do,” I go on seeing the light. “And it never felt right. So she is doing it with him. Yuk disgusting.”

“My next point. You can change it,” Bakerman always offers options.

“That will never stop,” I give up before I have even started. “I can? That’s the death card. How?”

“Yes you can change your behaviour only,” Bakerman explains the rules to me.

“Ah but I’m fine,” I say firmly. “How do I save my mother and my brother?”

“Fiona you must not put your filters in when reading tarot,” Bakerman scolds me. “You don’t know what’s in her future. You can’t.”

“What do you mean?” I ask him desperately.

“You can’t save them only they can,” Bakerman looks at me with sorry eyes. “You can help them achieve the desire to change.”

“So my blog will expose them and force them to change?” I ponder as anxiety creeps further up my spine.

“No it will just bring a new law suite,” Bakerman sighs looking into his empty tea mug.

“Public shaming does work,” I speak up. “Will it? Even if I talk about Tweedledum?”

“You need proof,” Bakerman puts his cup down and moves over in a conspiratorial fashion. “Have a few mini bugs placed in their house and record them for a month. Then you will have evidence.”

“Okay sounds fun,” I wink at him. “I’ll get their place bugged next time I’m in there. Or get the kids to do it. Or I know people who know people.”

“I am going shopping now,” Bakerman gets up slowly. “You could just ask her to clarify the rumour which she will deny but might think about.”

“Ok will do,” I say reluctantly as I can’t see myself ever having this conversation ever again.

“Ok have fun,” Bakerman waves after me as I make my way out of his atelier, back into the fresh spring air outside. I will always marvel at Bakerman’s ability to match his coaching strategies to each client for maximum success. His fever seems to have left together with the negativity he just spun out. I could almost visually see him releasing it all as he exhaled. I inhale the fresh spring air and take in the fresh energy of the sun, allowing it to light the way to a brand-new era.

* 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.

Lighten up

Bakerman didn’t show for my morning delivery of freshly baked buns, so I decide to call him on the phone to check whether everything is okay.

“Howdi,” I start out, and already the excitement of hearing him made me totally forget my reason for calling him. “Did my mom’s tarot yesterday. She pulled the death card twice. Does this mean I am going to die?”

I pull a horrified face which I am sure he can’t see at the other end of the line. “Went to see the solicitor yesterday. To see for marriage contract with Wim. Brrr… very scary. And also to sort out custody for Willem should anything happen to me. If I die, Willem goes to his godparents, Wim and Buidi.”

My chatter is ongoing on I’m half wondering if Bakerman is amused or trying to get a word in somewhere. “Also writing up an offer for a new client. I really want this one. It would mean 1.400 Euro monthly recurring. What can I do to make sure I get this client? Any magic or woohoo I can do?”

I pause for a moment for the magic to set in. Then I finally request a response from him: “What kind of lessons do you teach Mary?”

“Hi,” Bakerman breathes amused down the phone. “The death card means change. Not a physical death. Are you doing a prenuptial agreement? Let’s hope nothing untoward happens to you as your family will break up and the kids will lose touch.”

“Yes split contract, prenuptial,” I emphasize the cleanliness of the deal. “It’s scary though. I want to get married but last time I didnt like being married.  If I die and if Willem goes to Wim or Buidi, they will maintain contact with the kids.”

“I see,” Bakerman is making sense of the ongoings. “Are you going to live together?”

“No,” I laugh out loud at the crazy suggestion. “Later when the kids are at uni.”

“Then what’s the point?” Bakerman asks me a little annoyed.

“The feeling, the intention, the love,” I spell it out for him. “The commitment.”

“Really?” Bakerman sounds unconvinced. “Oh well that’s great. Sounds wonderful.”

“It’s good and slow enough for me,” I beam at him determined not to get unbalanced in my personal conviction.

“When will this happen?” Bakerman continues prodding the reality of my plans.

“After Wim’s chemo therapy,” I announce a little too sure of myself. “I guess September. We’ll get the contract sorted now and then set a date when health permits.”

“Very cool,” Bakerman is humouring me, I can tell. “This way you get to keep your cake after you have eaten it.”

“We’re doing things backwards: buy a house, have a baby, get married… live together,” I know just by saying this that I am the rule, not the exception, but I chose to ignore the uneasy feeling creeping up on me. “ Yessss! How do I make sure to get this client?”

“Fantastic,” Bakerman susses me for now.

“Come on, a magic phrase or whatever?” I plead him to give me a feather of confidence to hold onto.

“Which client?” Bakerman questions me.

“The tourism agency one,” I go on very excited. “They want social media, Adwords and analytics.”

“What do they want?” Bakerman pretends he didn’t hear me first time. “Oh.”

“I am quoting 2.800 set-up fee and 1.400 monthly recurrent,” I go on divulging the details of the calculations I made based on the prospects business requirements.

“Can you use Mechelen as a reference?” Bakerman has got his business thinking cap on. “You will guarantee the results are true.”

“Yes I could,” I realize this is the ultimate referral which should convince my prospect of experience and quality of work. “Okay. The results are true?”

“Use Mechelen,” Bakerman emphasizes.

“Excellent idea,” I congratulate him for being such a fantastic consultant.

“Yes after you have done social media, AdWords and analytics the dashboard will reflect unbiased and true results,” Bakerman points out my own unique selling propositions. “You don’t spin the result like others do.”

“Oooh okay,” I breathe excitedly. “Is my price ok?”

“Things will start to pick up now,” Bakerman predicts ahead. “February is always a bad month. Although it’s a very good month for holidays.”

“Super,” I am happy at this thought of business picking up and income increasing. “Things will be good by the time the Star returns. Mid November she’s back.”

“I can’t say if your price is good or not as I don’t know the market value,” Bakerman points out. “Better a bit high than a bit low.”

“Okay, will review before sending,” I decide content with the outcome of this conversation.

“Good girl,” Bakerman teases me.

“How are you?” I finally recall my reason for calling him. His absence this morning to deliver my daily bread.

“I am sick with flu,” Bakerman informs me matter of factly.

“Oooh poor you,” my cheeks burn slightly red that I had not inquired before.

“Had hoped to get going now but set back another week,” Bakerman informs me I’ll be without my daily bread for a few more days. Bummer, you start enjoying little routines and it feels awful when these fall away abruptly.

“Are you being spoilt?” I want to know.

“No,” Bakerman replies short.

“No oranges and honey?” I ask incredulously. “Why not?”

“I like to be left alone to sleep,” Bakerman gives a totally plausible yet surprising answer.

“Where’s Debbie?” I ask checking if all other factors remain constant.

“She is around,” Bakerman answers my real question.

“So I’m bothering you?” my cheeks are still a high colour of pink and I’m happy he can’t see that.

“No,” Bakerman smiles. “I don’t agree that as a man I am useless when sick. I think we suffer equally as much. But life goes on. Having my tummy rubbed is fun but at the right time and for the right reason. But for flu I just need tea, vitamin C, food and sleep.”

“Agree,” I sigh relieved. “Men do make a fuss. Or life just ends there and then.”

“Yes they do become babies,” Bakerman chuckles.

“Got to go,” I jump up looking at the time horrified. “I have a conf call.”

I head back off to my desk and computer my head spinning with new ideas. I have a few new ideas how to approach this prospect with promises on how to manage and analyze their social media marketing in one dashboard, how to use analytics tools to improve their advertising performance. And I am also feeling optimistic and confident with the marketing support I am getting from my friend Bakerman. Right now I feel like yes, I can succeed!

* 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.