For my 17th birthday, I wished for one thing and one thing only. Ok, that’s a lie. I wished for a lot of things, but most of them were things I could actually have, or be bought, or touch. No, this was intangible and ridiculous. Like wishing on a wishbone or birthday cake candles actually worked!
What I had wished for was Jack -the guy I worked with- to be mine. Just mine, no one else’s. To have him all to myself without any competition. To have us be each other’s alls. To need no one and nothing else. It was bordering upon the fairytale, melodramatic, slushy crap, but I didn’t care. You only turn 17 once, so I’m going to wish for something I know I can never have (That and a unicorn).
It was Saturday. I pulled the curtains open and peeked through the small gap between them. I wasn’t surprised by what I saw; grey sky as far as the eye could see, the threat of rain and a harsh wind blowing the trees about under my window. I didn’t care. Nothing was going to ruin my bad mood today. I was FINALLY 17, one year closer to being an adult (but no more respected or accepted as one by my parents) and I had work. Yay! Unfortunately I wasn
’t being sarcastic. I would have worked for free if Jack was in. And today he was definitely in. I was more aware of his rota of shifts than I was of my own. Sad I know, but it was the only thrill I got in that god-forsaken place.
I half ran, half skipped to work, not caring that I was early, just wanting to see Jack sooner. Retail work is a punishment for sins in a former existence, of that I am positive. What I did that was so bad I’m unsure, but I hope it was worth it as I was damn well suffering now. I wish I hadn’t listened to everyone who told me to stay in school. I got a good education and I still had a crappy weekend job. I was relatively smart, I had more qualifications than my colleagues put together; I wasn’t being boastful, it’s just that most of them dropped out of school. Though there was one saving grace…
And he was currently ignoring me.
Nothing worked and I had tried everything to get his attention. I probably could have danced around him naked and he wouldn
’t have noticed. I wasn’t going to go that far, but I was getting desperate.
A ‘hello’ when I came in in the morning or even the finger… anything! The bored indifference and lack of acknowledgement was hellish. But this was limbo, so I would have to endure.
I walked into work, signed in, forced my bag into my too-small locker and walked up to the mezzanine floor where we both worked.
Showrooms; kitchens and bathrooms, so utterly exciting it was beyond comprehension. A separate floor of a large DIY warehouse, the epitome of fun.
The building was fairly new, about ten years old give or take, the mezz floor having been added later. It was big enough to comfortably house everything it needed to, but was cold and unfeeling as warehouses tend to be.
The roof was made up of clear-ish corrugated plastic that let in the light, but also sounded as though it would collapse in a storm, the wind and rain battering it as though it would crack like glass.
In summer it was like a greenhouse, in winter it was impossible to heat, too open and too big. I had spent a whole winter clutching copious hot cups of tea between my shivering hands, the outdoors were almost warmer.
Summer was spent trying to get the air-con to work, which it rarely did, no matter how many people came out to fix it.
There was a benefit to the heat in summer though, it lead to Jack’s buttons being undone, his tie being discarded, his sleeves being rolled up…
For me it just meant feeling sticky and uncomfortable.
At least spring was on the way; occasionally a day came where I wasn’t shivering uncontrollably, unable to work the computer as my fingers were so red and raw.