‘I think you need to consider your options,’ Martha said decisively. Her pen was poised above the A4 notebook, its cover adorned with pink roses and had Arabella’s name written with a Sharpie.
Arabella didn’t respond; her mind a jumping castle of thoughts. As Arabella’s mentor, Martha had guided her to a job with greater responsibility and better pay. She’d helped Arabella build her financial portfolio, and widened her professional networks. Together they’d ticked off her professional work areas.
But now, Martha was honing in on her personal life. She placed great stock in Martha’s opinions—how could she not—but she truly loved Austin. They were a seamless pair.
The scent of vanilla wafted through Martha’s office space. Arabella breathed in slowly as she considered her response.
‘I love Austin.’ Feeble, but it was all she could manage.
‘He’s weighing you down. Too acerbic. Too arrogant. Too…well, he’s not the right partner to propel you where you need to be professionally.’
Arabella remained silent again. Her right eye twitched.
Martha continued, ‘If you want to live an authentic life, you’ll end it with Austin.’
Arabella knew what Austin would say. That ever since she’d engaged Martha’s services, their relationship was on a downward slope. Austin would say Martha was the problem. Austin would encourage her to cut ties with Martha. In fact, that is exactly what he said, each fortnight after she returned from her scheduled appointments.
‘I’m not ready,’ Arabella muttered. Her brain felt heavy inside her skull.
‘Then we’ll work on it together. Here. Over our next few appointments.’
‘Alright, then.’ Arabella didn’t make eye contact.
‘I can tell you’re not convinced. Time’s up for today, but spend time in your meditation moments on this. I’m right. You’ll see it my way eventually.’
Arabella nodded as she bent to grab her handbag. ‘Thanks, Martha.’
‘It’s about being authentic. Remember this. We can all be in relationships that are sub-standard. It’s too easy. And it’s why so many marriages end in divorce. Because we’ve taken the simple path. But we need to be harsh with ourselves. You especially. Look how far our work has taken you professionally. The next steps require you to be authentic personally as well.’
Arabella gazed at a freckle under Martha’s bottom lip, as the weight of her mentor’s expectations shackled her soul.