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  • Writer's picturePaul Hopkins

Page 13. I had to stay professional at all times

I sent an email to the entire team. Rose was included even though she was on maternity leave. It was an introduction email with the usual management spiel about what I was there for, which at that time was a six-month temporary management fix. The emails went out and I ran that service, I would say loosely from another area but popped in once a week. As it was a six-month deal I could not really get too involved. In six months I left that service, as the old manager returned after their secondment.

I never saw Rose due to the maternity leave.

But very soon after, that manager of that same department secured new work elsewhere (another secondment but a longer one). So, I was approached again and given the department as a permanent fix. This time I had plans. I sent another long email out highlighting the changes I would make to secure the service. I wanted one-to-one meetings with each staff member. At this point Rose was still absent on maternity leave, so I sent her an email (work related) asking if she would be happy for me to phone her to chat about the service. She said fine, so I phoned her. We spoke and had a lovely conversation. She told me how pleased she was that I was taking over and that she was excited about the ideas I had for the service. She reminded me about the interview four years earlier, we laughed and joked about how we had ended up meeting again. Memories came flooding back after a good long chat about life the service and other stuff, and the phones were hung up again. But once more, a very memorable conversation.

I moved the service from its location and merged it into our offices so that the two services could function from one area. The service continued to run. No Rose at that point, but I did have small conversations about return to work dates, plus some very pleasant emails from Rose.

Remember, at this point I thought that my experience with Rose from the interview was my feelings only. I remained under this impression, so I had to stay professional at all times. Also, I had never thought anything untoward or inappropriate regarding Rose or my marriage, an affair was not even in the equation.

Yes, Rose would pop into my mind from time to time, but life was life and I just kept living it. The days came and went until it was time, time for Rose’s first day back. I was looking forward to seeing her again after four years. I think the month and year would have been about February 2015.

It was a Monday morning. I got up, had my usual cup of tea, said goodbye to Mitchell and set off for work. I walked into the department and there she was. She looked as fine as I remembered. Chatting to someone she knew from my department. I walked in and said good morning, paused and then carried on, in a true manager style. I was kind of deflated at that point, as Rose was preoccupied with another member of staff.

I carried on into my office, sat down and started to answer the ‘delightful’ onslaught of emails. What was on my mind at that point? I wanted to meet and greet and have a chat about the department and some changes that I had in mind. I carried on working, and then…

Then I heard her voice. I heard this sweet, calm, lovely voice.

Rose stood there in the doorway to my office with her uniform on. She said she was so sorry to appear ignorant but that she knew the other members of staff slightly and couldn’t get away. She said that she wanted to say hello to me ASAP and that she was so glad to be back. That she was looking forward to being back and seeing how the service would grow now I had taken it on.

I invited her to come in and take a seat. We had a small amount of time as her clinic was starting very soon.

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