Becky: Part Three

This is the third part of a fiction serial, in 715 words.

I was aware that I had sat down on ‘my side’ of the bed. I smiled a grim smile, wondering how soon it might become someone else’s side. How had it come to this? It had been so different at the beginning.

When I met Becky, I was twenty-six years old. Unlike some of my friends, I had decided not to go to university. I wanted a job, not the chance of a career when I was almost thirty. I coasted through school, disappointing my parents with average O-level results. So I left and went to sixth-form college, where I worked a bit harder and came out with three pretty good A-levels. That got me a start with the biggest of the big four banks.

It also proved to be the kiss of death for the relationship I had enjoyed since we were fifteen. My girlfriend Paula was the only Chinese girl at the school. She was clever, much cleverer than me, and her parents didn’t really approve of her having a regular boyfriend at that age, especially one who was not Chinese. They owned four prosperous retaurants in Soho, and lived in a house three times the size of ours. Her older brother was a research scientist in some lab at Cambridge University, and they expected great things of her.

But she adored me, and they hadn’t counted on that.

So they did what rich people can do, and paid for her to go to college in America. Berkeley, the one in California. It was a big carrot to dangle, and I didn’t blame Paula for grabbing it with both hands. Maybe if I had decided on an Englsh university, she might have followed me there.
Then again, maybe not.

The same time I lost her, I lost Luke, my best friend. He went to university to study computing and electronics. As he had never so much as kissed a girl, he had very little to leave behind.
Except me.

But I had new friends at work. Or so I thought. It took me a while to realise that colleagues are not the same as friends, even if you go to lunch with them, then out for drinks after work. For one thing, they live all over the place, so it’s unlikely you will meet up at weekends. And for another, you put up with each other because you have to. You need to be able to cope with being with them for around nine or ten hours a day, so it seems only natural to continue that connection by going to the pub on your way home, or all grabbing a meal at TGI Fridays.

Even in my late teens, I worked out that most of those guys were not the sort who I would usually choose to be friends with. They judged on appearances, talked a lot about gadgets, cars, and money. They discussed women by type, as if they were pedigree dog breeds, and looked down on anyone who actually loved their girlfriend. My dad had a word for those kind of guys.

Shallow.

But I liked the job. I liked wearing a suit and tie to work, and didn’t even mind the boring train journey from Gidea Park into the city. I felt grown up, and the pay was pretty good too. I learned stuff. Stuff about money, and the money markets. How to buy Yen when the market closed in Japan, and then to hang on to sell it until the market opened in New York. Not real money, in the physical sense. Numbers on a computer screen, with some in red, others in green, and many in white. There were plus and minus signs, graphs, trends, and predictions. I was a junior in the section dealing with predictions. Millions made or lost in the course of a working day. Stress on steroids.

I looked over their shoulders, listened in on their phone calls. Always learning.

They worked late, so I stayed late. Even though I didn’t have to. Three years later, and I was sitting in front of a screen wearing a headset. I was talking to customers and agents, buying and selling international currency as if I knew what I was talking about.

And fortunately, I did.

47 thoughts on “Becky: Part Three

  1. (1) Wilhelm and Jacob always smiled a Grimm smile.
    (2a) “I coasted through school, disappointing my parents with average O-level results.” That’s because he joined the school’s O-ring. Everyone in it was a ding-a-ling. (At least he didn’t join a drug ring.)
    (2b) When Frankie’s parents learned he’d joined the school’s O-ring, they blew a gasket.
    (3) Frankie had a Yen for Chinese girlfriends. Because he was unable to convert that into a meaningful relationship, his efforts proved disorienting.
    (4) Berkeley’s mascot is a big dangling carrot. Prospective students are known as “nibblers.” Enrollees are known as “carrot teens.”
    (5) “For one thing, they live all over the place…” You never know where snowbirds will end up. We’ve got RV parks all over the Southwest.
    (6) Why grab a meal at TGI Friday’s, when you can grab a sexy waitress? (That’s how it came to be that my friend Cary G. calls his girl Friday.)
    (7) “They discussed women by type, as if they were pedigree dog breeds.” They also said that married life was a bitch.
    (8) According to the dictionary: ˈster-ˌȯids. Therefore, the stress on steroids is on the first syllable.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This story is really drawing me in, and I can’t wait to read what happens. I guess that’s the reason for serials, the β€œto be continued” always leaves you wanting more. Very well written, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Nice to read three back to back this morning, great observational writing that many of us can relate to one way or another. Looking forward to more and trying to work out where you are going with it. I think you maybe just dropped your first clue πŸ™‚

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    1. This is actually a relationship story. I am hoping everyone can see at least one small part of their own life in it. No sudden jumps or twists, just ‘life’. πŸ™‚
      Cheers, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I like Frankie so farβ€”that’s probably a mistake because you enjoy leading us astray. Please don’t turn him into an ax murderer, Pete. 😎 An endearing quality he possesses is the ability to recognize the shallowness of his colleagues. At least he has the sense to realize he doesn’t want to be like them.

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  5. We can’t help but write semi-autobiographically since that is the experience we know best. I like all the normal details here, including the way we often seem to drift into professions.

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        1. Julie’s uncle Eric and aunt Rose are both 93 years old, and have been married for 72 years. Neither had a boyfriend or girlfriend before they met, and they have not spent one day apart except when Rose had their two children, and Eric was in the army for National Service. When they walk down the street, they still hold hands.
          In answer to your question, they are the only ones I know. πŸ™‚
          Best wishes, Pete.

          Liked by 1 person

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