Stockroom Sales

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: The Imaginarium
A man reflects on an old job of his 20 years previous and which he met a girl he thought he loved.

Submitted: October 10, 2018

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Submitted: October 10, 2018




I think that everyone in their life should be forced to work with customers face to face – it should be mandatory. Like when national service was a thing. Customers can and will complain about anything if it means they can save a penny or sometimes, just to make my day a little bit harder. With all shit jobs, you have to find something worth your time (not just the money) whether It’s people you work with that make it easier or even if there’s someone there you’d like to sleep with – a bit of eye candy for when you’re working. I was only 19 at the time I worked in this chain clothes shop – and worked there for two years just to fund my studies and I still swear it was the most enjoyable job I ever had – because of the people I worked with. I was in the stockroom finding certain sizes of clothes and separating materials, the most mind numbing shit you can imagine but talking to others and in general, fucking about at work, helped it greatly.

Relationships with workmates are strange, because it’s not like your friends at home; you never see them out of work but get to know all about their partners, past experiences, sex life and even things that are going on at home. Spending 8 hours a day with someone, it’s bound to have that effect. I had my ‘best’ work mates; a guy called Stuart who hated the job as much as me and kept me laughing how much of a miserable bastard he was and a girl called Stacey – who I secretly loved. The thing is with Stacey, she had a boyfriend who she’d talk about pretty often, about what they get up to and even when they’ve fallen out. There is a fine balance between being there for her when he cheated on her and being a vulture wanting to pick up the pieces. Then again, there is also a balance with being there for her in a nice way or just being seen as a friend she can talk to. So many times I wanted to tell her just how I felt to see what her reaction would be – hoping it was a mutual feeling. Though I never told anyone else how I felt about her, I think people knew. The only thing stopping me from telling her was the fact of it being humiliating if I got turned down and then continued to work with her. It’s like that feeling you get when you first start dating someone – excited and slightly anxious whenever you see them. I had that every morning when I seen Stacey. She was one of those people where for whatever reason, just draws in your interest and even though nothing was going on, I still turned down being with some girls, thinking that it could ruin any potential chance I had with Stacey.

I think in a job that you hate, everyone comes up with little techniques or ways of thinking to make the day go quicker. 2 hours until break time, that’s only four half hours! Stupid shit like that just helped me get through the boring tasks I do to obtain money. I knew it was only temporary, but the actual work side of things started to get me down. Eventually, I was only there to have a laugh with Stuart and to hopefully one day pluck up the courage to say something to Stacey. It is pathetic to think of now, but when i felt that close to her without actually being with her, I started to obsess. Making any excuses to talk to or be with her – awkwardly trying to see her outside of work. I think the problem with me bottling up my feelings for so long is that when I eventually try to make a ‘move’ it comes out so awkward and sounds almost rehearsed – and I still forgot the fucking lines. The most painful thing I did was ask if she wanted to come for dinner with me – which doesn’t sound bad, but a stuttering, awkward mess that can’t look someone in the eye isn’t exactly a turn on and almost shaking as I walk off before even getting an answer caused me to just fuck off from work that day. I’m my own worst enemy when it comes to over thinking and over evaluating things, it’s not healthy to do so at all but imagine literally loving someone for two years and keeping quiet about it, studying how to approach a situation – and then making a total ass of yourself and potentially ruining what at one time was a great friendship – if nothing else. For a very short period of time, we stopped talking. I presume Stacey knew what the situation was but didn’t address it. I didn’t bring it up to anyone else out of fear of being humiliated again. The awkwardness died down after a few days, but It did stop me and her having as much of a laugh as what we did.

Staff parties have never been my thing but I go anyway, usually hanging around the bar with Stuart or something. This certain years Christmas party was held in one of those shitty micro bars that are above an actual bar – they rented the room out and it’s just us in there. The only thing that interests me at staff parties is for example, Dave who’s always talking about how much of a model his wife is and how she looks like a porn star – brings her along and in reality, he has the look of a melted Barbie doll – peoples partners aren’t how I imagined them to be. Stacey never brought her boyfriend to any of the parties, but I imagined him to be one of those arseholes that have it all. Blessed with rugged good looks, built like a brick shit house, mummy and daddy pay for everything he’s ever had and now he works at his dads company, making a shit tonne of money whilst not appreciating his girlfriend – treating her like shit… But maybe I’m slightly bitter. I didn’t stay at the party long, I have about the socially acceptable amount of drinks that wouldn’t come across as rude and I went home. Like I said before, I didn’t see any of these people out of work so I just did my own thing the rest of that weekend.

One thing I remember clear as day though the following Monday getting into work and feeling an atmosphere, as if people were embarrassed about something that happened at the party – quite a refreshing feeling knowing I left early not embarrassing myself. I slung the clothes that needed to be arranged to one side and did the standard routine on a Monday of checking in with Stuart. Hoping to be filled in with what happened after I left on Friday, he was surprisingly quite dismissive of me. I remember exactly what he eventually said to break his silence; “Look mate, it’s probably good you left when you did cause things got weird, like really weird. Shit happened that shouldn’t have happened, things were said that didn’t need to be said, it was just a fucking mess at the end.” I obviously asked him to elaborate and spill the details; “Well, Tony and Alan nearly got into a fight outside, Leanne threw up on the big boss’s shoes and erm… I erm… slept with Stacey.” That ‘sickness’ feeling hit me like a train as I giggled nervously. “Sta…what, Stacey that works here? How did that come about?” I’m 100% sure that everyone knew how I felt about her, but I still didn’t want to say it because that would be labelling it. I stuttered my way though saying ‘I thought she had a boyfriend’ but it must have sounded like gibberish. “No, they split up last week; I thought she would have told you. I remember you telling me months and months ago you didn’t know if you should ask her out or not but I presumed you went off her ages ago, that’s why I assumed you wouldn’t mind?” Presuming that I wouldn’t mind, trying to put words into my mouth to justify what he’s done the absolute fucking snake. See, he knows he’s done wrong and now doesn’t want to own up to it. Frustratingly enough, I say nothing and walk off in anger – he knows, but obviously doesn’t care. I didn’t speak to anyone that day and neither Stuart nor Stacey spoke to me. That day I was just angry, confused and felt almost betrayed, the strangest thing about it is that I don’t actually have a right to feel that way as they haven’t actually done anything wrong, but they aren’t the people I thought they once were. Stacey clearly knows the situation as she hasn’t said a thing to me all day. It boiled me all day to the fact I went home in anger and frustration – I remember at the time all I wanted to do was shout or hit something. To temporarily help, I bought some drink. In anger and by myself, I finished the majority of the beers I bought and decided to open some vodka that my mother had stashed in the house.

The rest of the night is a blur but I know that for the next few hours, I sat on the sofa, watching whatever shite was on the T.V, sipping neat vodka and chain smoking cigarettes – I didn’t even smoke at the time. Whatever time it was that I went to bed was too late as I missed my alarm for work. I picked up my old Nokia phone at the time to find a message from Stacey. I actually had forgotten that we had each other’s numbers as like I said, work mates…not mates I would usually see out of work. All it said was “Can we talk tomorrow at work?” I must have been pissed as I don’t remember the phone actually going off at any point of the night, I just know that all I did was get through 20 cigarettes and a hell of a lot of drink, whilst watching awful late night comedy shows. Still seething from yesterday – but with a banging headache, I decide to not go into work at all and ignore the message. The trouble is whenever something like this plays on your mind, is you become obsessive and reckless – replaying the situation in your head and becoming angrier.

The next day, I sheepishly walk into the store room and glance over in the direction as to where Stacey normally is – she hasn’t turned in yet. Stuart see’s me from a distance but makes no effort to communicate with me – he knows he’s done wrong. For a while, I strategically structure what my script is to say to Stacey, actually telling her how I felt, regardless of what it may cause to our future work relationship. Even if I get shot down in flames, at least I won’t spend the rest of my time in this job wondering what could have happened if I just took the chance. Overall, I think it’s worth the risk, I’ve obsessed with her for long enough now, it’s time to either do something about it or forget her. Half an hour goes by and still no sign of her. Half hour turns into an hour, which turns into half a day. On entering the office, I try to carefully drop it into conversation to the supervisor as to where Stacey is;

“Oh, I thought you would have known of all people here, Stacey left, which I’m not happy about. She didn’t work a notice, didn’t give me any warning. Yesterday she was fine, just seemed a little quiet and this morning I had a text from her that she can’t face coming back in – ever. Moving to her Aunties in London or something. No specific reason or at least she didn’t state one anyway. She’s really fucked us here. We’ve got so much work to do.”

My heart actually sank and I felt that somewhat painful lump in my throat before you start to cry. Trying and failing to fathom any reason I could possibly think of as to why she would leave, I decide to ring her – which keeps going to voicemail. This is before the days of social media, so if someone doesn’t answer their phone – you can’t get hold of them. If I knew where she lived, I would have left work and gone to see her – but I didn’t. Without worrying what anyone else thought for once, I stood at her work desk, not concerned with people gawking at me stood where Stacey worked as I’m crying. I frantically search for something… anything that she may have left for me specifically to give me an insight as to what she wanted to talk about yesterday or why she had left. It must have looked borderline pathetic the way I sobbed at a work desk for a girl that doesn’t even work there anymore. I remember clear as day being stood perfectly still, riddled with regret of not telling her and anger at myself for not speaking up at all. I stood at that bench for 45 minutes without moving – in somewhat of a trance.

For 4 months I would try calling Stacey almost every day – always went straight to answer phone. I finally had given up. At the time, although nothing had gone on between us, I felt that Stacey was the love of my life and some of my best memories are with her. We both worked in a shitty job, but I had her there – that was enough for me to keep going. Stuart and I didn’t really speak again and I got that zoned out by everyone, I just focused on the work – forgetting how boring it is. It’s been 20 years since I worked in that stockroom and I think about it almost daily. I retrained and am now a software development manager, I’m quite well off in financial terms and had a beautiful wife and 2 little girls – even after all this time and with the circumstances I have now… part of me still wishes I would have said something to Stacey at the time.

Part of me even still loves her from 20 years ago.

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