‘That’s my new chair,’ I shriek in horror, leap forward and stop the Nymph from turning. ‘Don’t do that. That’s how you damaged your old one.’ I tilt the chair forward so that Peirene is forced to get up and wheel it to my desk. ‘You can now have this one.’ I roll my old chair over to her.
‘I don’t want your hand-me-downs.’ Peirene pulls a face. ‘Your new one is much nicer. I’m sure it cost a fortune.’ She sits down on the floor cross-legged, rests her elbows on her thighs and her chin in her hands. ‘I’m officially on strike until I get a chair like yours,’ she announces.
I refrain from commenting. Her behaviour is utterly predictable. I was away last week on a writer’s retreat and now she is punishing me once again for leaving her alone. When will the Nymph finally grow up?! I sigh and sit down on my new chair. It was delivered while I was away. What a beauty! Soft and comfortable and yet it will prevent me from sloping forward, keeping my back straight and my shoulders back.
‘Anyway, it wasn’t me who broke the chair.’ Peirene says. I knew she wouldn’t keep quiet for long. She’s looking for trouble, I hear it in her voice. ’It was James.’ James is my new assistant.
‘James?’ I laugh out loud. ‘He doesn’t use chairs as a merry-go-round like you do.’
‘Oh yes he does. Last week while you were away that’s all he did.’
‘I don’t think so.’ I laugh again. ‘He was far too busy for that. He finished a long end-of project report for our EU funding from last year and he prepared our forthcoming half-term, half-price promotion.’
For a moment Peirene is quiet again. I can see her brooding over something else. But she’s now wasted enough of our time. I open my laptop, walk over, bend down and place it on the ground in front of her. ‘If you don’t go to the mountain, the mountain will come to you. We have a lot of work to do. Start by looking through the contracts for our 2017 books. They are now all ready to be signed.’ I’m about to turn away but then can’t help to add with a little mischievous smile: ‘And by the way, according to my yoga teacher, sitting on the floor is good for you. It opens your hips. Perhaps you don’t need a chair at all?’