Life Begins At Thirty : Chapter Five


The first time I really thought about those pills on the bathroom counter after the lottery win was that morning. I had lost my virginity the night before but Hannah, the girl who I’d lost it to had left before I woke up. I felt so lonely when I awoke that morning and realised she had gone leaving no way of contacting her, no way of seeing her again.

I had always said to myself that I wouldn’t lose my virginity in a one night stand. I would wait until it was love. Not that I’d had much choice in the matter up to this point. In one of my many moments of self-destruction I had considered a prostitute or escort. Hey if it’s good enough for Frank Skinner, I’d reasoned. But no. It was a once in a lifetime thing. It needed to be done right. Perfect.

Perfect wasn’t waking up alone the next morning. It wasn’t this hangover swarming around my head like a plague of locusts. What had I done?

It was also confusing. Last night we had talked, laughed, bonded. She didn’t seem like the one night stand kind of girl. She was more than that last night. Had I been naïve? Stupid? Was it just an act to get me into bed? Surely no one would want to do that with an overweight loser such as me. Had I let slip about my newfound wealth? Had she slept with me to get access to my wallet?

I jumped out of bed and ran to my bag lying half open in the floor and removed the wallet. Opened it. Peered inside. Nothing was missing. I was confused. I was lonely. Again.

I may not have let slip about my money to Hannah but before I’d left work the previous week I had told a couple of colleagues who were rightly confused by how I could afford a new car and an entire week in the capital on the pittance paid by our employer. I suppose I could have told them something, anything else but by this point I was getting tired of lying.

When I arrived on the first day back I was greeted by loud cheers. The whole office knew. Suddenly everyone who never talked to me before was lavishing me with attention. The girls who always stuck their nose up at me suddenly seemed much friendlier, with much more cleavage. The guys were even worse with the brown nosing. I didn’t like the attention and Marissa knew it and called me into her office for a “catch-up” as soon as she could. I was very grateful.

Marissa’s office was on the corner of the sixth floor and with large tinted windows giving a fantastic view of the surrounding city. I always liked coming in here when everyone had gone and looking out at the world moving outside without me. Her desk was in the centre of the room and always had a bowl of sweets on the desk, today there were jelly babies and I wasted no time in reaching for a red, strawberry Jelly Baby as I sat down across from Marissa.

We talked about my trip, what I’d gotten up to. I told her about Hannah and what had happened. Then she asked the question that had been running through my head whilst I was being swamped by people in the office.

“Why are you still working here? You don’t need to. You don’t need the money.”

I told Marissa about my thoughts that night before I saw Hannah. How lonely I was and how I’d missed all the people from work.  Marissa laughed. Said it was sweet but that it was stupid.

“You don’t want to waste your life here when you have so many opportunities now” she had said wisely.

A few hours of trying to work and being interrupted by well-wishers later I knocked on her door and handed in my notice.