I’m sitting here at eleven-thirty at night, and Master is sitting next to me playing Fallout 4. There’s no point in going to sleep yet, we’re both kind of wired. Even if he could sleep, I couldn’t sleep thanks to my current insomnia. Insomnia that I don’t expect to be cured any day soon.
Today started off like any other. I was in a pretty good mood and feeling reasonably okay. Physically I was a bit dizzy, but I got up and got going as I usually do, even if it takes me a bit longer than most. I was working on the Mewtique when Master called me on the phone. It was such an odd thing. He doesn’t usually call me on the phone during the day unless something terribly important is going on and he wants to make sure that I get the message in the proper way. I say the proper way, because some things are just not meant to be told over a couple note. Some things should be said as “in person” as possible.
Master sounded unwell.
“Kitty? Are you okay?”
I was confused by this.
“Yes, Master. I’m fine. You called me. Are you okay?!” I felt a bit of panic in my voice, and I thought I knew what he was going to say before he even said it.
“I have bad news. I just found out they aren’t going to renew my contract at the end of it in December.”
“It will be okay,” I told him. My voice was strong. “There were never any guarantees about that, we still have the next three months, right?”
“Right. I just can’t believe this though. It’s awful.”
“I know. You will find something even better though, just wait.”
I don’t know why, but I didn’t feel rattled about it at all. I think it’s because I hadn’t allowed myself to get my hopes up at all over this contract. Everyone has been so welcoming to Master and I know that an extension or hire have been on his mind a lot because people keep talking to him like he is already part of the team. Something didn’t sit right with me about this phone call, though.
“Are you okay,” I asked him.
“I just feel ill. My stomach is in knots.”
“We will do this, I promise. I love you. I wonder why they didn’t wait until the end of the day to tell you this? It’ll be hard to think straight for the rest of the day now.”
“I don’t know, Kitty.”
We hung up the phone.
Like I said, I didn’t feel rattled. I had expected things to end in December, though I would not have been upset by good news happening in the middle. I was just focused on the day-to-day and Master has had his eyes out for more permanent work, although with a full time job it does leave less time for interviewing.
I went back into my sewing room, and I sat down. I went back to work restocking things. Everything felt fine and normal and then suddenly it hit me. Just waves of stress. I felt like I couldn’t see straight. Maybe it just took a minute for the adrenaline to kick in. Master just sounded so rattled on the phone and that’s not like him. It felt worse than the contract just ending. Still, I reminded myself if the contract is ending it is more important than ever for me to focus and get things restocked. I need to take advantage of the busy time for the Mewtique if there will only be two months of paying work shortly after.
So, I pulled up my “big girl” panties and stopped moping. There were no guarantees so why was I so upset? Probably just hearing Master upset made me upset. Still, what good does sitting there do? I would be better off to play video games even than to stare into space. Something to occupy my brain and hands. I picked up my fabric and went back sipping tea and sewing.
Ten minutes before the end of day I got another phone call from Master. I was already on edge from my previous phone call, and I didn’t think it was great to get a phone call again so soon.
Master sounded frantic this time.
“Yes, Master? What’s wrong.”
I already knew.
“They did wait until the end of day. I’m being let go from the contract right this minute and I don’t know why. All I know is that my position is suddenly not going to be on offer for a full year and my boss’ boss is out of town and no one can reach her.”
My heart sank. We were both in shock.
“I’m going to go now. I’m hanging up. I have to clean out my desk. I love you.”
“I’ll see you when I see you, I guess. I love you.”
We hung up again. This time I was upset from the start. This was different than a three month cushion for me and Master. I didn’t cry, but it was a bit of a struggle not to. Not even a week’s notice or anything? Nothing? What on Earth? He has been working there for almost a year now. Why was this happening? More budget problems like the last job? I just don’t know. I do know that this could never come at a good time and I don’t know if right now is better or worse than any other time.
We’ve been through this so much in the last few years. Being a contractor is so hard! No insurance (other than government insurance) means I’ve been getting terrible “bare minimum” medical care. We haven’t felt comfortable going on day trips to places either because who knows when we’ll have stable income. Being on contract means having less “fun” and doing less and always being worried about when contracts could end, especially in an “at will” state.
When Master got home he hugged me and I told him I loved him. He decided that he couldn’t stay at home tonight. He went outside to smoke a clove while I got dressed and then we went out to run the errand we never finished from last night. It might seem a bit silly, but he wanted the night to be as normal as it could be, all things considered. Sitting in the house was only making us both feel the stress of everything so much more, we needed to get our minds off of things without spending money frivolously. After all, we still need toilet paper and green tea.
I think things went better tonight because we ran that grocery trip. We both were taking turns feeling down in the dumps on and off. We know what to do. We’ve been in this place before. We know where to go to apply for unemployment, we know where the food pantries are, we know when they run. Master is going to wake up tomorrow and start looking for work during the day and help me sew (or punch buttons) in the evenings because the Mewtique money will definitely help. He can work those charity casino gigs for extra cash again. Plasma donation. All the things.
It’s just that all of that is so awful. You gotta do what you gotta do, but why is it so hard to find work that isn’t a contract?
I have my fingers crossed so hard that we can find some permanent employment soon. We need it so badly.
Tonight, I don’t know how I will sleep. I will either be wide awake all night worrying about how things will go, or I will close my eyes and sleep the sleep of the dead due to the stress of it all. I go back and fourth between feeling panicked and numb. Tonight I may sleep like a log. A numb log.