Sarah had known him for some time now and something was terribly wrong. He had definitely changed. Some believed it was for the better but, others for the worse. For Sarah, his change affected her personally- in a good and bad way. She no longer felt small or weird in his eyes or in anybody’s eyes for that matter. And this was no small thing. 

Before, it was like every morning he said something that offended her. 

” Good morning. You know you’ll still get that promotion, Sarah.”  

He always pronounced her name emphasising the two syllables. She hated it.

” Stop it, Brian, I told you I’ll let you know when…never mind.” 

It was silly because he would actually know it before she did.

“Will you be my date tonight, Sa-Rah?” he shouted, one early, chilly morning, unaware of how emotional that made her.

“I know I’m not your type but please…”

She realigned her documents, severally, a bunch at a time without looking up. That statement was too hurtful.

From the first time she saw Brian, she liked him. From her desk, she often threw glances at him through the ever-opened door of his office and especially when he was swamped with work. Being the boss’ son though, she prudently decided not to show it openly. What if he thought it had anything to do with it? How about her colleagues- they would taunt her endlessly. 

After three years of working together though, she let down her guard. She would offer to help close up, recheck his files, serve him tea, and even once, organised a small, birthday party for him.

Despite being a clown and garrulous, Brian literally opened the office doors every morning and was the last to leave. Everyone marveled at that but agreed it was laudable considering who he was. It had rubbed into Sarah too for obvious reasons. A whole fifteen minutes is what it took to have her get out of bed, but this had gradually changed. Sarah would get to work second and sit at her desk waiting for him to come, and he would, but to say ‘hello’ of course. Whenever she spotted him coming, she ensured her  buttons were okay, dusted her table, and then coughed a bit to feign how busy she was. If only he did not tease her as he did. But why didn’t he gather she was madly in love with him? Maybe he would, someday.

“It’s okay to let him know how you feel. After all, I think… no, I know he likes you. He teases you because he does.”

Sarah was old-school and believed that a girl should be approached first and hence nothing her friend Clara said would make her budge. Everyone at work missed the laughter, the warmth- the old Brian who was the life of the party had vanished and was missed terribly. 

Nowadays, whenever he entered the office, every step seemed calculated and his face no longer shone. His ‘ Hi’ was articulated in a low, nearly inaudible tone. He didn’t get out of his office during tea- time and kept his responses to a lousy ‘yes’, ‘no’, and at best, ‘I’ll think about it. ‘ 

In about four months, the old Brian had literally vanished and was replaced by an irritable, quick- tempered individual. One thing was noticeable for sure, he forgot information easily. And this added to the tension between him and those he directly worked with. Clara once overheard a heated argument in his office.

” But I gave you the ledger files yesterday,I did.”

” Stop it! No, you didn’t, Lena, and I need them for my presentation on Saturday.”

He later found them in one of the folders on his desk.

Everyone else had to change too, at least with respect to laughing out loud during breaks. It was a mystery everyone wanted to unravel.


Though happy with the turn of events, it really bothered Sarah that nobody knew what had become of her secret Prince charming. She often contemplated asking the boss but thought it would be inappropriate. If he deemed it worth mentioning, he would have, at least to his friend, Cody. No, she had had it, she would go right into his office and tell him everything, and ask the gnawing question that she and everyone else died to know.

And she did. 


Cody shook his head for the hundredth time swearing that he  knew nothing when yet another colleague enquired about the boss’ son. Giving him time was his best response. Many believed he knew something but was just honouring his oath of secrecy. Rumours had it that he had fallen out with his father, but I didn’t buy it. Brian would have manoeuvred that pretty well and it wouldn’t have been that  obvious. A heartbreak, was what others thought but even that, he would have faked at least in our presence.

The boss’ visits to the office had reduced to once a fortnight from at least thrice a week which further complicated the situation. Unlike before, even when around, he always seemed in a hurry and mostly spoke with  his son, Caleb and the Vice President.

We all threw glances at him for any clues. Nothing.


“It’s all up with me, Sarah.”  he whimpered in what was no more than a whisper. She nearly dropped some folders she had. A cold response or an outright dismissal is what she expected, not a bombshell of this magnitude. It was after working hours and everyone had left. She cleared her throat and stared blankly at Brian. He looked away.

” Sorry?”

His face was pale and his swollen eyes hid more into their sockets. 

” FFI, is what they called it, Fatal Familial Insomnia. I’ll lose my mind… eventually. I’ll forget everything.”

“You don’t have to say anything,” he added,seeing her expression,“ I’ll just have to face this harsh reality.”

What! This could not be true, Not  him. Lost for words, she held the door more tightly, licked her dry lips,cleared her throat a second time, and without much thought, went over to him and embraced him. She had thrown all care into the wind. The man she so much cared about needed her.

“ Please don’t say that, please don’t.” Her own voice was swallowed up in the embrace. He held her tight, allowing tears he had held back for weeks, maybe months, to soak the collar of her blue, silk blouse.

“ It’ll be okay, Brian.”

 He coughed twice.

Apparently, he only came to work because staying at home or at the hospital would literally kill him. As she rubbed his back soothingly, his anguish became hers and her courage melted faster than she had mastered it.They sobbed uncontrollably. His heart pounded faster and louder by the minutes. It was love, pity or a mixture of both that she felt as she stood there for what felt like an eternity.

“ I love you, Brian, I’ve always …” She disengaged and recollected herself like one awakening from a weird dream.

“ Sorry… I…this isn’t the time…”

“ I love you too Sarah. I love you…but…” Brian reached out for some napkins.

She stared at him, speechless, gasping for air. He did? But why hadn’t he said anything? This was not the time.

Everything was ghost-quiet save for their sniffles every now and then. 

“I should drop you at your place… I get it. You don’t have to respond. “

Sarah wanted to protest, wasn’t she better placed to drive? She thought better of it.  

It must have been a ten minutes drive but was the longest she had ever had. 

She closed the door behind her and wept afresh. Her napkins all soaked up, her long-sleeved blouse wasn’t spared. She longed to sleep hoping to wake up and  find this nightmare was just that ; a terrible nightmare.

” Honey, it’s me, how was your day?

” Who are you? Get out! Get out!”

She shot up, nearly falling from her bed. Turning the lights on,she sipped some water and wiped some perspiration from her face and chin.

 It was 2:30 am. Her mind was on a roller coaster.  

Half an hour after that terrible dream, she made up her mind.

She found him at the office, by chance.The look she got didn’t surprise her, as she rarely entered his office. He would be the first to know.

” I love him Sir, and I know he needs me.” 

” I hope you fully understand the situation here?

” Yes Sir, I do.”

She didn’t know whether he would do the same, but the nightmare gave her a glimpse of the turmoil Brian would be in. He would need unconditional love and care. She would give it to him.

By Phyllis Kennedy

Phyllis Kennedy creates Inspirational stories and poems that impact lives. She also has a great passion in teaching English and Literature. She can be reached on for personal coaching and professional engagements.

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