Valentine’s day. Commando took me into town. “Buy yourself something nice,” he said, pressing a fifty pound note into my hand. I looked at it for a moment as if it was foreign money. It might as well have been Dirhams or Drachma. I walked round the West Quay shopping centre like a zombie, staring into shops, still clutching the money in my hand. An hour later Commando found me staring blankly into the window of Next. All I could see we’re colours and textures and people. He took my hand and led me, like a child, to Starbucks, where he sat me in one of the comfy chairs. When he came back he had a tray with mugs of latte and chocolate fudge brownies. His eyes were pleading. I ate a bite of brownie but it stuck somewhere just above the lump in my chest. My legs were tapping. My hands were shaking so much I spilled my latte.
When we got home there was a letter on the mat. I knew it was from Dream Factory. I recognised the strap line on the back of the envelope, ‘we make your dreams into a holiday’ it was one of mine and Alfie’s. They were using envelopes from the new stock, why weren’t they using the old stock up first? It was an invitation to a meeting next Friday. My chance to save my job.