I smile at the growling face which in turn grunts at me.
I puff a breath of air after he’s gone and tell myself not to walk back to the car park. I’ve played this scenario twice this month and hope it’s third time lucky. It has to be. I have no choice. It’s now or never… well, now or I don’t get a job. And I’m not going on the dole. Never done that, so it comes down to this; glass entrance door to my right, car to the left.
I hear someone walking up the stairs but I don’t want to look because if I turn left the car park wins. So I keep looking straight ahead. I have time. Bert gave me redundancy when he retired. Two thousand pounds. Three months’ rent, food, car bills. I’ve worked it out. I’m good with figures. Bunch of roses £4.99, Chrysanthemums £3.99, Carnations £2.99. My favourite’s Gerberas. 75p a stem. Even a mixed bunch I’d add like lightning. That’s what Bert used to say.
It’s words I have trouble with. That’s why I’m here. Bert didn’t mind. He’s the only one who knew. Him and my mum but I don’t have either of them now. So I need to help myself.
It’s a man. I thought it was a man. Heavy footsteps. Large feet.
He stops at the door and turns round to look at me. It’s OK. I don’t mind.
“Coming in?” he asks. I nod. So he opens the door and waits. I have no choice now. He doesn’t do anything when I don’t either. Then he smiles. He’s got a nice smile. Friendly. Comforting. Just what I need.
“The class starts in a few minutes,” he says, but it’s not accusatory, it’s advisory. Then I laugh at the big words I’ve just thought. Then it dawns on me. “How do you know where I’m going to?” I ask him.
He taps the side of his briefcase. “I have a register,” he whispers as if it’s top secret then laughs. “We’re the only group on tonight. Don’t worry,” he winks, “I don’t bite.”
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