I drove into the car park behind my apartment building and automatically reversed into my allocated space. It was dark, the nights not yet drawing out this early in the year. The blackness around only added to my depression, and the harsh electric lighting just made my eyes hurt. All I wanted right now was a huge glass of wine, a pizza, and a load of chocolate. Maybe that would ease the stress of yet another horrible day at work.
As I walked up to the rear door of the building I checked my mobile phone for messages. Sure enough, my flatmate Julie was working late. She was an accountant and apparently this time of year was crucial for financial stuff. I didn’t understand it, not being especially good with maths myself. Anyway, a few hours alone would do me good. I could eat my junk food in front of the TV and begin to try and relax a little.
Forty-five minutes later I was snuggled on the sofa in my pyjamas, savouring my first very large glass of white wine for the evening. It was delicious and fruity, one of my favourite brands, not too sweet and definitely not cheap. Nope, now I was no longer a student and I was earning a full-time wage I could at least afford decent booze, and wine was my one weakness. Well that and chocolate!
It wasn’t so much the job that I hated at the moment. I worked for a consumer goods supplier, as an office administrator. There were some perks, the occasional free gift item or promotional toy. And my colleagues were all very nice and friendly. My colleagues were nice; my boss wasn’t. Now I know that’s not surprising. Managers are expected to be mean to their employees, but not to this extent. The company was suffering due to the recession, and every day we were unofficially threatened redundancy. Our boss took out his moods on us; he would shout at the slightest thing, and instruct us to perform tasks that weren’t always specific to our job roles.
But of course, there was nothing we could do. I had spoken to our HR representative about the situation, but without lodging a formal complaint, she couldn’t help me. My colleagues were too afraid of reprisals to rock the boat at this time, which I suppose is understandable. For my part, I was applying for other jobs, but so far without success. I tried my hardest to forget about work and relax, telling myself it wasn’t worth it, but the niggling thoughts were insistent.
By the time Julie arrived home I was on my second glass of wine, which equated to about half the bottle. She came into the living room, dropped her briefcase, said hello and then stood before me.
“He’s been at it again?” she said in a voice full of understanding.
I nodded; suddenly fighting back tears at her sympathetic tone. Julie was well aware of my situation, and she genuinely felt bad for me. She ran a hand through her short, blonde hair, ruffling it as she thought. Then she checked her watch.
“Hey Deb, it’s not exactly late, shall we pop down to the bar for a few?” she said in a chirpy tone of voice. I looked up at her slowly, considering.
“But I’m in my pyjamas and I’m all icky!” I moaned pathetically. She laughed at my feeble voice. “So! All you need do is throw on some clothes and a bit of make-up, sorted!” she said, “We can have a few shots; get the day out of our system. Mine’s been pretty tough to be honest, I need to unwind.” she finished with a sigh.
So I found myself in the local trendy bar with Julie. She was right, we both needed it. I had dragged myself out of the living room and put on my favourite skinny blue jeans with a red cap-sleeve t-shirt that had a rock slogan emblazoned across it. My trusty black stiletto boots completed the look, and I washed my face and applied some bright make-up. All I did was run a brush through my long brown hair, and then I scooped it into a high ponytail. I did clean up pretty well actually, and Julie was a nice contrast with her cool blond looks, pale blue eyes, and fashionable tunic and leggings ensemble. We both liked our clothes!
The bar was busy as usual, full of office workers and young executives relaxing after a tough day. In a strange way I was cheered at the thought that it wasn’t just me who was suffering at work. Indeed, two or three shots and two more glasses of wine later, and my job really didn’t seem so bad as I struck up a conversation with a guy sitting next to us. Julie had disappeared to fetch us some more drinks, and I noticed that the man beside me was smiling and looking directly at me. I smiled, and tried to gather my muzzy thoughts enough to speak in a coherent manner.