The large, white table that took up all of the room was intensely daunting. I stood at the doorway for a few seconds before pulling myself back in with a deep breath. I was shaking. My fingers went cold, I couldn't feel my toes. The warm sun shone through the window and I cursed the fact that I had to be here, in this cold, large room, with the white table and the bad blood circulation, instead of outside.
I sat down gingerly at the first seat I could find. Making it just in time before my knees gave way under the sheer amount of pressure this whole debarcle was creating. It was all probably in my head. This was no big deal. No one else thought so anyway. The old men milling around, greeting each other and shaking hands were at ease. The other people, who had obviously done this a thousand times looked a lot more comfortable than I'm sure I did, even if not entirely.
The proceedings commenced and found it hard to concentrate on the words the Chairman was saying. It all sounded like gibberish to me and I had to try extra hard to understand.
The floor was opened for comments or questions and the boy next to me put up his hand. This seemed to be a big, important debate - I had just missed the topic.
Listening intently I picked up on what they were saying. He was speaking calmly. Phrasing his points clearly and concisely from the scrawled notes on the table.
Shouting. Stuttering. The Chairman had started to shout. I was taken aback. How had this all escalated so quickly and why could the boy not speak.
The Chairman repeatedly said No.
I leant back in my chair, trying to stay out of the way of verbal fire.
We were nearing the topic of which I had to discuss. I crossed my fingers, my toes, my legs my arms and willed with all my being that I would not be chosen to speak first.
Gingerly I pulled the microphone towards me. My hands were so sweaty I'm surprised it didn't slip out of my hands.
I skipped a few really important points.
It was all a blur of confusion, nerves and sweaty palms.
I sat back in my seat and spent the rest of the meeting obsessively picking off my nail polish going over and over what I had said, wondering if it was adequate.
I was so relieved to go home that night, and hope never to be thrown in the deep end again.