2 June 2014
“Em hello,” “Aye come on what, I’ve no’ got all day.” “Four sausage rolls and two coffees please.” Donna picked out the rolls and slipped them into a bag. The police officer made a motion as if to correct her that she saw out the corner of her eye as she turned to pull out two coffee cups, but she ignored it. As irritable as she felt she knew it probably wasn’t a good idea to start shouting at police officers when she was still new in her job. The coffees seemed to take an age as they dribbled out of the machine. When they were finished she handed them over the counter and took the money.
After the officer was gone the rest of the lunch rush came in. Even though she had only been working at Greggs for two weeks she was used to this by now. On her first day when faced with a queue out the door she had needed constant reassurance from Maggie, an oder woman who in her own words had been there since before anyone else and would still be there after everyone else. She had held Donna’s hand through her introduction and kept her in check when she could feel her temper getting the better of her. By the time the rush had started dying down Maggie told Donna to go for a break. “Right, thanks. I need to go home anyway, I shouldn’t be long.” “Aye hen you can come back and have your lunch, don’t forget.” Donna rolled her eyes while smiling. She had enjoyed cakes and pastries once, standing over them for eight hours a day had killed this desire.
Living only a few streets away Donna’s journey home was short. As soon as she entered there was yelling. When she looked at her mother Donna had a sudden moment of realisation. She could get away. For the years she had put up with her mother’s shortness and seemingly never-ending rage at everything around her in the world, now she had a legitimate excuse to be in a different place. And even better, it would give her money. Picking up the dregs left in a wine bottle from the living room and pouring it down the sink Donna felt guilty at being glad to leave, even though she knew it was for the best.
“Okay, are you alright now?” Donna looked at the cracked plastic clock on the wall. She only had a few minutes to get back to work. “Ah’m fine, ah telt ye. Ah wis fine when ye left n’ ah’ll be fine when yer gone.” She slumped down on the couch and started staring a hole into the faded floral wallpaper. She started patting herself before pulling out a cigarette. “I love you Donna,” came a muffled voice. Donna hesitated for a moment before tapping the door and pulling it shut. She made sure it was locked before heading back down the stairs and out.
The next few hours at work passed by relatively calmly. Donna was still surprised at the amount of custom during the whole of the day rather than just during lunch or her expected busy hours. She had worried that she would feel bored when she got the job but this hadn’t been the case. The great atmosphere had helped immensely, she had taken to the other women that worked there quickly. Even big Chris who worked in the back with the stock who everyone else seemed awkward around, she was able to talk to him easily. She was happy in her job, she felt as if she belonged in something for the first time in years.
The clock on the wall was ticking on to half past four as a man walked in. Tall, well-dressed, well-groomed. Donna could see one of her work-mates looking at him like he was lost. She thought that he’d never stepped foot in Govan in his life. He walked up to Donna’s counter. “Hello,” came a careful Glasgow accent. “I’d like some cakes please.” “They’re over there,” said Donna, pointing to the shelf that held the few cakes left that late in the day. “Thank you miss.” Donna watched bemusedly as he picked up almost all of them, awkwardly taking up the two boxes he was given. “That must be some party he’s planning,” she laughed once he had left.
Ryan was careful when placing the boxes on the passenger seat of his car. He fired up his engine quickly and pulled out, not wanting to spend any longer parked in Govan than he had to.