Excerpt from “The Unraveling”

Antoine overheard the conversation between the dean and his teammate. It forced him outside the circle of relevance. It alienated him. The insult injured his sense of belonging, and instantly made him the ‘other’. Overwhelmed, fighting the urge to jump out of his skin, caught between the fear of losing his mind and the fear of losing his job, he repressed his knee-jerk inclination to confront, and instead cowered in his chair. Antoine knew those voices, and tingling with resentment, slowly, robotically pricked his distressed body to check and verify. He saw their backs moving away toward the conference room. He felt betrayed, like an outcast even and could no longer do what he had planned to do that day or concentrate. He was numb. More than the comment, what ate him inside for the full agonizing year that followed was how he had cowered for lack of a snappy comeback. He had groveled and betrayed his own sense of morality!

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