“Are you okay?”
These are not words one wants to hear in the middle of a job interview.
And yet, that was exactly what the Austrian woman asked me, halfway through my interview. “Are you okay?”
The answer was obviously no, anyone but I could have seen that.
But I said yes. Everything was fine. I was good.
I would not get the job in Austria.
I knew that as soon as I hung up the video chat. My first words, in that dingy hotel room, spoken to no one in particular, were: “That did not go well.”
It had been a bad idea to schedule an interview for the day I returned from a 10-day trek. It had been a bad idea to schedule an interview while I was in Nepal. It had been a bad idea to come to Nepal in the first place. I knew all that.
I was too tired to care, honestly.
Physically, mentally, emotionally — I was all used up.
This was the end, I knew then. I had known for a while, probably, but I had just kept on walking, hoping it would go away. Hoping I could persevere, find a new burst of energy, find a bench, built by some kind stranger to rest on. Hoping a metaphorical Anker would appear with his words of encouragement: “slowly, slowly. We are almost there.”
It hadn’t happened. And on some deep level, I hadn’t expected it to happen. But I had hoped.
I called Holly on Skype, and we talked for hours. We fell asleep with each other, nothing between us but the cold glow of a computer screen.
ACT BREAK / END OF PART 4