Orpheus: The Taste of Ashes - Player Stuff - Teresa - Diary - Entry One

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Back to School Again

That’s what it’s felt like this past couple of weeks. Except the lessons were somewhat more unusual. I’d hesitate to say more interesting, but I’d definitely say differently interesting. I wonder if the novelty and strangeness of it all ever wears off? I can’t see it ever becoming routine, but then I guess anything can with enough repetition.

As the above implies: it’s a couple of weeks since I started work at Orpheus (or, more precisely, since I began Orpheus’ projector training course). This is the first real opportunity I’ve had to write in my diary: not because they’ve been keeping us busy (although they have). No, it’s because for the last couple of weeks I’ve been out of my body.

It feels really strange to write that. Looking at the words, the experiences of the past fortnight hardly seem real; it’s as if I’ve just woken from a dream. I suppose in a way that’s true. I’m rambling a little now, but it’s hard not to. I don’t yet have the frame of reference to properly put all of this in context. It’s one thing when I’m in the middle of it; experiencing it. It’s another to relate it to the more mundane aspects of my life. I’m not even sure where to start. Well, I suppose the beginning is as good a place as any.

Day One

Bad coffee, potted plants and a pretty girl behind the desk: some things are the same no matter what the nature of the business. I wasn’t really expecting lamb’s blood, eye of newt and a crone, but I still think a small, irrational part of me was almost surprised at the sheer ordinariness of the Orpheus reception. I could have been standing in the reception of any relatively well-off business from here to Timbuktu. And that, presumably, is precisely the impression they want to give.

Signing in and receiving my ID badge took me back to my first day at my last job. And the one before that, for that matter. Not really surprising, I suppose. What was surprising was how much relief I felt at having one again. (The ID badge, not the job. But that too, I suppose.) I hadn’t even realised how much I’d missed it after handing it in. It’s funny, the things we come to rely on; the symbols that we come to identify with. I guess there is something to having a badge of office. Even if this one does have “trainee” stamped across it in big red letters. (Wouldn’t do to have the newbies getting ideas above their station, I suppose!)

I’d arrived a little early, so the receptionist -- Tracey something or other (what is it with receptionists and names like Tracey or Sharon or Cindy? Does part of the Receptionists’ Rite of Passage involve taking a new name from the rolls of Those Gone Before?) -- directed me to the waiting area. There was someone there already: a fellow trainee. (Hard to miss the badge.) Probably had the same idea as me -- not wanting to risk being late on the first day of a new job. He was fairly nondescript in appearance; not that I was checking him out. Well, maybe I was a little. New start and all that jazz. Besides, it doesn’t hurt to look. He introduced himself as Tom Knox and we made awkward small talk for a while. He seemed a little on edge, especially after the obligatory “and what were you before” exchange. Nervous, perhaps? Secrets, certainly, but who doesn’t have a few skeletons in their closet? I pegged him for a cop or similar even before he said that’s what he was. Used to be. It takes some time to adjust to such a change; I still think of myself as a psychiatrist. I can’t see that changing any time soon, either.

More people started to arrive before the social awkwardness could reach truly epic proportions.