June 22 Day 1 Surveyors came and marked off the land for the buildings.
Julia read through weeks of very normal sounding notes like this; short and straight to the point. A week before she came for her first visit the notes started becoming a little strange.
August 22 Day 62 – Visit from the owner today. Workers kept on pace.
There were 3 of them watching.
She was not sure what he was referring to. She knew it wasn’t her because she had been accompanied only by the construction company owner. She doubted it was an employee because every other labor issue up to this point had been noted specifically with the offense and the penalty paid. The first offense was a warning and it was noted with WRN written after the offense. EL meant a note in the employee’s file. F of course meant fired. She had seen it a few times but this was the first time a note like that was written. A half completed thought that seemed to be a continuation of another. It was a non sequitur and it did not belong in the log. She was disconcerted by it. The next entry was back to the regular pattern. Nothing was out of the ordinary, in fact, for the next 6 entries. Then there was no more order.
August 28 Day 68 – They keep watching me. They follow me home.
August 29 Day 69 – I can’t leave the house. They are watching.August 30 Day 70 – I’m scared.
That was the last officially dated entry. The rest of the book was filled with scribbles of eyes and birds. The words “watching me” appeared over and over again. Julia found that her heart was beating hard as she flipped through the log book. She, like the foreman, was scared. The logical side of her brain was fighting this feeling as best it could but something in the recesses of her mind had latched onto the feeling of terror and it was not letting go.
She decided to go to one of the resort’s bars and have a drink. She thought that being around people would wash everything away. She was right. The flirting from the cute bartender didn’t hurt one bit. She allowed herself to be wooed as she drank the lovely rum concoctions he put before her.
She awoke in agony. It felt like somebody was beating on her head with a bat. She sat up slowly and crawled to the bathroom. She got a glimpse of herself in the mirror and she grimaced at the site. It wasn’t pretty. She remembered flirting with the bartender until late but then leaving as the crowd got thinner. Even as intoxicated as she was, and as handsome as he was, she had not wanted to end the night with him. Even worse, then ending the night, would have been waking up next to him and dealing with what to do then. Julia had been a married woman for a while but he had died in a car accident. She had been avoiding relationships a lot since then. People always assumed it was lost love that kept her single, but that was only part of it. She had hated how much change had happened after she said “I Do”. It felt stifling and she had not met a man as worth the whole confining experience since her husband had passed. She was not opposed to falling in love again but last night was not love. She had been scared and desperately needed to feel normal. The only thing that would have happened this morning is that she would no longer be comfortable staying at this hotel. Word could travel fast and she had no desire to be hit on by every would be Romeo that was employed by the resort.
She swallowed some aspirin and sat in the hot shower trying to will the aspirin to do its job. Then she slipped on a robe and ordered room service. She consumed water and felt the old familiar feeling of not being sure if she would ever get enough liquid back in her system. She briefly wished that rum would be outlawed so she would never drink it again but the truth was she still liked rum; probably not today or perhaps the next 3 days. She found her eyes being drawn to the stack of papers she had not looked through. She had no desire to look through that rather large pile of complaints but she needed a complete picture of the project from the start to now. That meant the complaints needed to be looked at. She moved slowly to the table, careful not to bounce her brain too much, then she sat and set herself to the task. The first was not very interesting, just an accusation of another employee cursing too much. She picked up the second when room service arrived. She welcomed the excuse to continue avoiding the complaints and she immediately sat down to her breakfast. She had spent time in her youth in the US and the idea of a greasy breakfast to cure headaches had stuck. Of course she was in Panama and there were some differences in what she could get. She had scrambled eggs with cheese, onions and ham, 2 slices of bacon, a thick circular corn based product that was fried in butter and called a tortilla (although she knew it wouldn’t be considered that in the US), and two meat filled empanadas. This was accompanied with a carafe of coffee and a large glass of orange juice. As she looked at it she realized this would probably take more room then she had in her stomach. She managed to get the room service attendant to take the empanadas with him to enjoy, along with a generous tip as well. She ate about a quarter of the meal before thinking about stopping to get sick. She managed to eat a little more instead and with half of the food eaten she covered it back up and got back to work. The food definitely helped bring some balance to her system.The complaints were still waiting for her to dive in when she was done eating and she made herself sit down and get to work. An hour later she found herself cramped up from the position she was sitting in staring at the complaints. The employees were pretty easily offended and she was only about half way through but she needed to move and stretch out her limbs. Between the food and the aspiring she was feeling almost human. So she slipped out of the robe and into some real clothes. She took the room service cart out with her when she left and she went for a walk. The sun was shining and she felt like strolling along the beach.