What was it?
Mr. N’s eyes weren’t on me, fortunately, but were staring into the room as he was finishing a sentence, and I held my breath, counting three, two, one. The moment he turned his eyes toward me, I put the beer down, told him I really had to leave and stood up, all simultaneously. Mr. N didn’t oppose it this time. He offered me two thousand yen for a taxi, but I told him I could still catch a subway. I kept the rest of the interaction light, brief, and upbeat until I closed the door behind me and exhaled a deep sigh of relief. My heart pounded, and my eyes welled up.
What was it? I kept questioning as I rewound and replayed the scene a few times. By the time I got home 45 minutes later, I had concluded it was an accidental over-friendliness on Mr. N’s side. And I had already successfully set the boundaries by leaving the situation. I’d only have to be careful not to be alone with him outside work again.