Thursday, July 25

Cream

K— TOLD ME, FLOATING on her long slender legs, to go into one of the meeting rooms. I asked—‘Will I need my notebook?’ ‘Yeah,’ she smiled. She looked good in the summer; slightly tanned as her pale pink skin would go; I was reminded of when I was so into her that she was all I could think of and sometimes reduced me to tears.
The managing director was sat in the meeting room, before a variety of screens telling him different things. We cracked some jokes and I was nervous. I sat down opposite him. I was nervous. We spoke about how I thought I was getting on, and then he told me how he thought I was getting on.
‘So in light of that, we’d like to offer you a pay rise?’
I was flabbergasted; I thought that maybe it was a mistake. The room was hot. I began perspiring.
He said the amount.
I was stunned.
‘… Thank-you! … Is that correct?’
‘Lemme check. Yeah, it’s right.’
‘Wow. Thanks.’
‘We gave you one not so long ago, didn’t we?’
‘Yes.’ I thanked him again, he praised me, gave me some advice, then asked me to send another colleague in. I did so—distilling some secret pleasure from it—and sat down, concealing my glee. Only that morning my senior colleagues—friends!—had been complaining how they hadn’t seen a pay rise in five years, yet I had had three in less than two. I felt guilty, as though I were betraying them. Tim had just got back from holiday with his family—‘I got you a gift.’ he said, and presented me with a lighter with LANZAROTE written on it. He asked me whether I wanted a red one or a blue one; on account of my football team I chose blue. He took the red one. I thanked him and studied the lighter for some time, then stood it on my desk. Above everything, I thought that he had remembered me when he was on holiday. I was charmed and a little sad, though I could not think why.
Two nights in a row my train has broken down.
There is no air conditioning so everybody just sits there, sweating and cursing.
On the first night I told my mother I was moving out and she was sad.
On the second night there was a strange dog in my house that fled from me whenever I tried to pet her.
On the third night I will go drinking with a friend.
On the fourth night I will be in another country, seeing new friends and feeling that, perhaps, things are changing; that, perhaps, the coffee is brewed.

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