As I sit here at home an hour, now, after the tenancy decision meeting was due to start, I feel nauseous. I have felt this way all afternoon. As I drifted around chambers during the day, no-one would meet my eyes. I sit here and wonder whether this was an early sign of my impending rejection, or just simple paranoia. Perhaps no-one used to meet my eyes, but I wasn't looking.
I am also thinking about the alternative endings to this blog, this record of the prolonged hazing process that has been my pupillage.
In one of these endings, I am rejected. I feel bitter. Unavoidably, I think about all of the things, both big and little, that I could have done differently. Top of this list is not wasting my time and energy writing this blog. I wonder what on earth I am going to do now. I think about my old workplace and whether they will take me back. Would I be a failed wannabe barrister who couldn't make it, or would I be seen as courageous for having tried? Perhaps, I think, one of my other tenancy applications will succeed, although I imagine that to be a hopeless prospect at this point in time. Perhaps I grit my teeth and apply for third sixes, looking to endure more of this ridiculousness. My mind then focusses on the immediate issues. Should I go into chambers tomorrow? What, if anything, will people say to me in the morning? How will I bear their sympathy, knowing they probably voted against me? And what happened to The Other Pupil?
In the other ending, I am accepted. I am delighted, of course. I open the bottle of champagne in the fridge and I consider my potentially glorious future at the bar, as a barrister. After my conversation with The Master last week, I simply cannot see both The Other Pupil and I being taken on, and I will have to embarrass us both with the expected platitudes. Looking slightly further ahead, I will have to start paying rent immediately, and my pupillage grant will come to an end. It is time to get to work.
In this second scenario, would I come to think of pupillage as a tough but effective selection process, being as it managed to select me? Like the Whig view of history, everything will have led to this current, blissful state of affairs. Even if some of the contributing events may have seemed nonsensical or even unpleasant at the time, with hindsight I might see them in 'proper' context, as part of the tough but fair process that all us barristers had to endure, the process which fashioned us into the brilliant, ingenious advocates we are today.
Perhaps most poignantly, from the point of view of Pupilblogger, the persona I now cast aside, how will I treat the new pupils? Will I myself become a pupilmaster in the years to come? Watch out for MasterBlog, should this strange turn of events ever come to pass. In the meantime, only occasionally in and around chambers myself to pick up briefs (and occasional cheques), with my own living to make and no responsibility for their welfare, will I simply fail to see them as others failed to see me?
I hope not. I hope that if I do become a tenant, I will remember.