The elevator comes and I step inside. The heartbeat reverberations are caught in this tiny thick walled space, and go wild, carrooming off the burnished steel walls, bouncing and gaining speed with each bounce. I wish I had as much energy as they do.
I push my floor and glance back to see Tim from Contracts. I nod "Hello" and, since I have a captive audience, I broach the subject of the Winnesox Water District financial agreement. I really need it by next Wednesday when I meet with the district. He frowns at me, as if surprised that I would talk about that now.
I step back and stare at the patterned carpet. I concentrate on the thrums zooming about, filtering out my heartbeat and its echoes from his heartbeat and its echoes. Kattatttatttakaktka --that is a bit fast, what does fast mean? In this context, because he hasn't spoken to me and is glaring at me, it probably means he is overstressed on something else, someone else's pressing deadline.
A heartbeat native would have gotten this in a breath, it is so glaringly clear that not picking it up is a mistake at a four-year-old's level and certainly not one that a professional colleague should ever make. I apologize for not noticing his stress levels--how could I be so rude and thoughtless, and please forgive me for this childish lapse--I was too busy thinking about this upcoming presentation--too important. I lie. I hope my heartbeat doesn't betray my lie, but I can see from his face that it does. Damn damn double damn I swear to myself, and my heartbeats echo my damnation and reflect in an infinite surface under his eyes. I quickly back off--could I get the Winnesox agreement when he can get to it? No hurry.
He nods and I sense carefully, again filtering the real heartbeat now from the historical echoes surrounding our chamber kattaaatttaatttaakaaaktttaakkaaa--a bit slower and slightly more relaxed. I won't press him. I'll finesse something. Somehow.
I need to calm my heartbeat now to not mess this next meeting up, too, so I take a quiet corner and a precious minute to use all the biotechniques my physical therapists and even Dr. Smits have shown me. kaatakkaaakkta. Well, sort of. Close enough for government work, anyway.