Friday, 19 December 2008 - 7:28 pm

One of those days

I almost called him today.  It was reflex – I’d had a crappy day and I wanted someone to talk to.  A friendly ear and a warm voice on the other end of the line.


It was one of those days today.  The supervisors at the bookstore were all stressed out because today’s delivery was late.  All of their carefully prepared schedules were out, and of course they took it out on us. Never mind that this happens at least once a week.  Never mind that we had the delivery sorted and out on the shop floor in record time.

Of course, the store was packed, which made it impossible to get any books actually onto the shelves.  It seemed like all the nasty customers were on the prowl today, too.  Like this one lady who pushed her way down to the self-help books and nearly knocked an old man over.  I went to see if he was okay, and he gave me this look as if I’d just suggested something disgusting, or I had forgotten to put my shirt on this morning.

He had only just got done looking like he wanted to scrape me off his shoe when the pushing lady came steaming up again.  She missed him this time – she was after me, apparently.  She stood there in the middle of the store and tore strips off me because the books weren’t in order and she couldn’t find what she was looking for.

And you know why?  Because of people like her.  Because customers pick up books and shove them back on any handy shelf.  At this time of year, it’s all we can do to keep the books off the floor and chairs and other books.  Does she have any idea how long it takes to re-order a shelf after the store has been open for a couple of hours?  We’re not miracle-workers, y’know.


Yeah, I didn’t say any of that to her.  I apologised for the state of things – it tasted bad to let that pass over my tongue, but I was hardly going to have a go at a customer.  No matter how tempted I was.  Instead, I offered to help her find what she was looking for.  And of course, the book was exactly where it should have been, if she had bothered to use her alphabet.  I didn’t say that to her, either.  She went away happy, or at least quiet.

Then one of the managers walked up and asked me why I hadn’t shelved a cartload of books yet.  I almost but my tongue bloody so I didn’t say something we would all regret.

So I just took it.  Sucked it in and took it.  They really don’t pay us enough to take that kind of crap, but I can’t just leave.  I need the money.  I need this stupid job if I’m ever gonna get out of where I am and start my own life.  I don’t like it, but there it is.


On the train home, I had to talk to someone.  I had to say all of those things I had bottled up all day – all of these things I’m splurging here.  Otherwise, I would burst or break down.  I’ve done way too much breaking down lately.

I found myself staring at his name on my phone.  I had scrolled to it automatically, a habit so deeply ingrained that I didn’t realise I was doing it until his name slapped me in the face.  Cocky little electronic sucker.

His name.  I have to stop doing that.  He has a name.  He’s not one of those people who Must Not Be Named.  He’s no scary, undead, noseless bastard who just won’t quit.  And I’m not one of those limp girls who goes to pieces at the sound of his name.  It’s Cody.  His name is Cody.

I used to call him on the train home all the time, almost every day for two years.  Just to hear his voice.  Just to have someone care about my day.  But that hasn’t happened for about a month now.  He used to be my boy with the beautiful hands and I can’t get used to thinking of him as the ex.


I called Matt instead.  Matt and I have been friends forever, since we were kids.  I hadn’t realised how long it had been since we talked – six months, almost.  Wow.  I guess I neglected him while I was with Cody. 

It was good, talking to Matt.  We caught up as though no time had passed at all, sailed right over the gap without even noticing.  He caught me up on his latest exploits – he’s a regular at a gay bar downtown, and it’s pretty much drama central there.  All of a sudden, my life didn’t seem so bad.  He’s good at that.

Maybe I’ll go see him soon.  Catch up properly. 

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