I'd been working for over 30 years in that bakery. 30 years. Every morning, before the sun came up, I was in there, pounding dough, bleary eyed, shaking up that assistant of mine, Katie, who was always late, always with a new excuse. I couldn't fire her, I knew she had too much to lose, though of course she didn't know it. This was the only job she had sustained since leaving school at 16, and I knew that really, she did count on this place.
"I do have a life, you know" she used to say, if I ever tried to remind her of her lateness, "I do have a life"
She knew how to shut me up. Every time she said this, it brought me down. Of course to her this was all I was, fat arms full up with flour, no plan, no husband, no LIFE.
I did love that place, I'd built it up myself after Frank had left. I needed somewhere to go, to get out the house. I needed an income and some security. I needed something for me. I loved the smell of the dough in the morning, and the quiet. I loved the walk there, before most people were up. Everyone knew me as "Joy The Baker", and over time, the business had grown into something of a small success.
But just recently, it had begun to feel stale. Days and days of bread had turned my brain literally to dough. I had fallen into some terrible routine, and I was feeling so very lonely. Katie sighed and sighed, slapping the wet dough into the tins and shoving them in the oven, before stepping out for another smoke.
"I do have a life you know" she said to me, one last time.
"Of course you do darling. But so do I." I said, as I walked out, shut the door on her gaping mouth, grabbed my waiting bag, and stepped on that plane.