Laurie twisted the white gold ring around her finger. She watched the small diamond make its way around the knuckle and back into view.
Around and around she twisted the ring.
She couldn’t hear Michael, lecturing on quarterly financials. She didn’t notice Bradley in the corner, drawing endless spirals on a notepad. She didn’t even notice when Alicia nudged her in the rib.
She did hear Michael clear his throat.
Laurie looked up to see everyone at the conference table looking at her expectantly. She looked at the projected image on the wall. A graph she didn’t recognize was being reflected from Michael’s laptop. She took in the reds and yellows and blues, but nothing registered.
“Laurie?” Michael said in a tone that indicated he expected her to say something. But she didn’t even know what they were talking about.
“Yes?” She knew her tone probably sounded sarcastic, but she didn’t know the proper response. She couldn’t think of a single intelligent thing to say to overlook the fact that she hadn’t been paying attention.
She saw Alicia roll her eyes and look towards Michael, who appeared annoyed.
“Laurie, we’re ready to hear your presentation on social media marketing.”
She stared at him. Social media? What the hell is that?
Even Bradley looked up from his doodling and stared at her.
She cleared her throat, “Um. Is it possible to, um, postpone my, um, presentation? It’s, uh, not exactly…ready. Yet.”
Michael smiled, “Oh yeah. Why didn’t you just tell me that earlier? How much time do you need?”
Laurie glanced around the conference room, “Uh…a day?”
He seemed taken aback at her response, but his face softened, “Alright then. Let’s all reconvene tomorrow at 7:30 AM for Laurie’s presentation.” Looking directly at her he added, “We’re all very interested to hear what you have to teach us.”
Laurie grabbed the black folder from the table in front of her and hustled out of the conference room. She hoped that it looked like she was in a hurry to finish up her presentation.
She went into the office with her name on the door, closing it behind her and sinking to the ground on the other side.
She looked at the black folder in her hands. It was filled with copies of the graphs Michael had been showing everyone. None of it made any sense.
She dug into her pocket and pulled out the driver’s license she’d taken from the purse in the hallway that morning. She stared at the smiling young woman for a long time.
The eyes were the same – almost identical to her mother’s. The name was right. The birthday was hers. But everything else was all wrong. There were crow’s feet around her eyes, her hair had been dyed away from golden blonde to this reddish brown hue. And the effective date sitting atop the woman’s head. That couldn’t possibly be right.
The numbers stared up at her. 2012.
Just last night, she had gone to bed and it had been 1995. She had just turned 12 years old.
What was going on?