I've always been the anxious sort when it comes to waiting. I hate it. I'll pay the extra four bucks to ship something one-day through Amazon, rather than wait for two-day delivery. Christmas morning? I used to get up at five, and this was as a teenager. My wife and I still laugh about the "groom coma" I was in on the morning of our wedding: I couldn't focus on anything except getting to "I do". Thank goodness someone else was responsible for the rings.
Lately, I've been waiting on the mailman. My wife came home for lunch today, and I practically jumped out of my seat as I heard the outside screen door open, thinking maybe the mailman was knocking. I wasn't too disappointed to see the love of my life, rather than somebody with a letter... but I did let out a held breath. She gave me a kiss, and I went back to waiting.
I was taking a nap when I heard the metallic clunk of our mailbox. I nearly tripped over the shorts I was putting on as I raced to the bottom of the steps. If I'd taken the time to look at myself in the mirror, I would have seen baggy eyes, two days' unshaved beard, and a glimmer of hope.
Two pieces of mail for my landlord, and some junk mail. No letter.
I'm waiting on what I hope to be vindication, and it is slow in coming. A week ago, I lost what amounts to my license to practice, for no reason that has been adequately explained to me. Picture a lawyer being disbarred, or a doctor losing his medical license: that's where I'm at. It's taken lots of hard work to get where I am, and it's not arrogant to say I'm near the top of my field. My peers regard me highly, and when the people who make decisions need something done, they come to me. As of last Tuesday, I'm nobody.
It doesn't matter what I do, because this isn't about that. This is about waiting.
I'm home on leave at the moment. Paid leave, which is far better than the alternative, but not exactly time that I can enjoy. I'm getting to spend time with my kids. I'm getting housework done.
I'm not doing my job. I'm not innocent. I'm tarnished.
Certainly, I'm concerned about getting fired. Like a doctor without a license, there's not much I'm doing at the moment for the bottom line. My company has been fairly silent through this whole process, and that makes me nervous. The last thing I heard from them was approval to be on paid administrative leave through last Friday, and it's Monday. Getting fired would suck a lot, for me, for my family, for my future. I'm currently the single income provider for a family of five, not counting the pets. Losing my job would be a bad scene.
In some ways, it would be easier than the waiting. If I knew for sure, I could recalibrate: polish my resume, look for help from family. I could do something.
Right now, all I can do is wait. Somewhere in the mail is a letter that explains this, or so I'm told. Once that letter shows up, my company can make a judgment about whether or not this loss of licensure is merited, and decide whether they will support my appeal or whether they'll give me the axe. Even though the letter was written by the very group that took away my license, even though it's in their best interests to make it sound as if I've actually done something wrong when I haven't, I'm hoping that there will be some glimmer of truth in there, some subtle thread of hope that, when pulled, unravels this whole ugly mess.
Until it gets here, all I can do is listen for that metallic clunk, keep watch for a flash of blue, and fret. Until I know the charges against me, I can't even deny them. I can sit, with judgment rendered, with the trial over without one hint of my accusers or their complaint. I can hope for a chance to appeal, to clear my name of this unknown stain. I've had people look at me strangely already, tell me, "I wouldn't have expected that of you." Even though it shouldn't matter, I want them to know that this is not me.
I want to clear my name.
But for now, I wait. Perhaps there are better ways to spend my time. I could look to the future, to a life insured against injustices such as these. I could try to figure out how to work for myself, answerable only to my customers. I could reinvent myself in some sector where they care less about credentials and more about raw ability. I could take this time that's been given to me to reflect on the many years of life I have left to live, and to try to shape them well.
I am trapped in the past. I am stuck in that moment, in that phone call I got that explained that my license was gone and there was no reason for it. I am stuck in the shocked looks in my colleagues' faces, in the pity, in the suspicion. I've had so many people express their unconditional support for me, so many tell me that they believe that this has to be resolved soon and that it must be a mistake. Their support means the world. And it means nothing.
Because I am waiting on that letter so that I can stop waiting, and move forward.