Actually, it was a very short meeting. But perception is a funny thing in times of crisis, because everything moves in seriously slow motion. I remained calm, and am thankful that my sense of humor was still intact.
"It's really hard for me to sit here and tell you this," Sean said.
To which I quickly replied, "Not as hard as it is for me to sit here and listen to you tell it."
We shared an uncomfortable laugh, and then I stood and shook Sean's hand. Steve gave me a big hug, and I promised both men I would give the network my all until I walked out the studio door for the very last time. It was only then that my voice cracked and my eyes began to well with tears—but not one of them spilled over. I am extremely proud of that.
Mrs. Henry can make me cry. But my bosses who've just fired me—no way!
There were so many thoughts in my head as I left, that I was certain people walking past me could hear them. One of the first thoughts was how difficult it was going to be to put on a happy face and work for the next three weeks, as if I hadn't been fired with no warning, as if I didn't have a care in the world. (Doesn't this fall into the category of cruel and unusual punishment?) I knew it was going to be the toughest thing I'd ever had to do at work. Tough, but not impossible. I am, after all, a professional.
And I've had enough years of good-enough-mother training to know that you can never let anyone see you sweat.
One of the most frustrating things about my predicament was having this devastating bit of information inside me and not being able to do anything with it. Before I could tell anyone outside of my inner circle, the news had to go through all the official channels, and a press release had to be put out to the media, which I knew would cause a stir, as surprise moves in high-profile jobs always do.
Somehow I arrived at the lobby, and said good-bye to the kindly guard who'd let me skate over the years when I'd forgotten my ID badge.
As soon as I climbed inside a cab, I called my best friend in the whole world, Buff. He was very surprised when I gave him the news. He had, in fact, completely misread the intent of the meeting, and had been confidently reassuring me that there was no way they were going to fire me.
Hey—no one said he was perfect!
Then I called my agent and gave him the bad news. Back at the studio, the building looked different. It felt different. In little over an hour, my comfortable work home had become a house where strangers dwelled.