‘I thought you were talking about real enjoyment,’ Mel said, laughing, ‘I do have a boyfriend but he’s not much fun lately.’
‘Oh dear,’ Lucy said, ‘Well, Mel, life’s too short to hang on to lost causes. A girl like you’ll have no problems finding someone who’s more fun.’
By the end of the day, Mel had been up to the gallery, learning how display items were chosen and replaced. She’d also learned that the shop had a group of ‘friends’ – frequent customers. The Group – members paid a small annual fee – had a private Facebook page on which management and members posted news, comments and their favourites of their latest photographs. Sometimes, a submission would be chosen to appear in the gallery for sale – almost all the gallery photos were by members .
The shop acted as an agency for a film development laboratory and was able to offer low prices to Group members. Another surprise to Mel was the occasional limited-number day outings that were arranged for Group members. Sometimes these were funded by suppliers and brand managers who were keen to demonstrate their latest equipment ‘in the field’. There had been recent outings to the Lake District, Snowdonia and the Peak District. Mel took note of all these services and started to hope that she might be able to become involved. She knew that she would need to prove her worth first though to earn a place.
It had been a thoroughly enjoyable day.
Mel at home
For the first time in a while, Mel was home after both her parents, and her mum had almost finished making their evening meal. Over the meal, they asked her lots of questions about her first day and were thrilled that she’d enjoyed it so much. She explained her hopes for greater involvement in some of the activities – even those that would take place out of normal working hours.
She deferred making the calls she’d planned until after the meal, when she’d finished helping to clear away the dishes and load the dishwasher.
Her first call was to Stacy, but she was still at work. Craig, however, rang her. He wanted to meet up. Mel told him that she didn’t see that they had much to talk about after the previous afternoon. He told her that she was being childish and was just sulking. She said that she hadn’t heard him apologise for what he’d said. He told her not to be so soft, it was just a lovers’ tiff. She said that such tiffs need someone to apologise to heal the rift. He tried to turn things round by saying that he accepted her apology and that they should move on. At that point she closed the call.
He rang back immediately.
‘All right. I apologise,’ he said, ‘I apologise – though I don’t know what I’m supposed to have done. Now, are you coming out or what?’
‘Listen Craig,’ she told him, ‘that’s the least apologetic apology I’ve ever heard. If I need to point out what it was that you did, I don’t see any point in coming out, but since you say that you don’t know, I’ll tell you anyway.’
‘Go on then,’ he said, ‘I can see that you’re dying to tell me.’
She reminded him that he’d tried to diminish her pleasure in getting a job by decrying it as a real career – and what’s more, he’d effectively belittled her in front of her mum and dad. Then he’d announced that he’d applied for a place on a teacher training course, but hadn’t told her beforehand that he even intended to apply. To cap it all, he’d claimed – again in front of her parents – that he had told her, but that she hadn’t been listening,.
He tried to justify himself by saying that he hadn’t intended to belittle her – but being a shop assistant was hardly a graduate career. She replied that being unemployed wasn’t much of a career either.
‘See,’ he said, ‘you’re not denying that it isn’t a career.’
‘You’re deliberately missing the point Craig,’ she said, ‘but are you still saying that you’d already told me about the teacher training course?’
‘Absolutely,’ he said, ‘You’re often too busy taking photos to listen to what I’m saying. Come on, Mel. It’s a simple misunderstanding.’
‘Well I’ll be listening harder in future, Craig,’ she said, ‘but if you ever try to belittle me or my family again – face-to-face or in front of anybody else – we’re through. Do you understand me?’
‘Okay,’ he said, ‘I hear. Now are you coming out?
‘No,’ she said, ‘I’m too upset. Call me after work tomorrow and I’ll see how I’m feeling.’
Once she’d ended the call, she went over it in her mind. He still hadn’t apologised. It might have been stupid male pride, she thought, but she wasn’t happy. “Still,” she reasoned, “I ought to give him another chance to show that he’s changed.”
She tried Stacy’s number again. This time she was home. Immediately, Stacy demanded all the details of how Mel had gone on in her new job. Mel couldn’t help but notice how different the call to Stacy was from her conversation with Craig. Stacy was obviously interested and delighted for her. Craig hadn’t even asked.
When Stacy’s appetite for news about Mel’s job was satisfied, the subject moved on to Craig. Stacy was not so much incredulous as disgusted by what she heard. She told Mel that never admitting when they are wrong is a classic sign of control freaks – as is belittling their target.
‘Dump him, Mel,’ she advised, ‘He’s bad news.’
‘I’ve told him now to call me tomorrow.’ Mel said, ‘I’ll give him one more chance, but I’ve let him see that I’m not a pushover.’
‘Make sure that he knows that he’s in the “Last Chance Saloon” then, but I think that he’ll take comfort from the fact that you appear to have forgiven him. Watch him like a hawk, Mel.’
The photo that I’ve chosen today is the eighth of the series that I’ll be posting in this part of my daily blog in this part of the page. As I said previously, the series is based on a walk that I did on the 19th April along the bank of the Leeds to Liverpool canal between Burscough Bridge and the ‘Ring O’Bells’ pub just over a mile away. I did the walk in both directions, accompanied by my daughter’s dog, Ted.
Today I’ve chosen an image of a couple of narrowboats moored alongside the canal. The EXIF data are as follows: Camera used was my 24 MP Pentax KP cropped sensor camera paired with a Pentax 28-105 mm f/3.5-5.6 full-frame lens. The shutter speed was 1/160 secs @ f/8 and 48 mm. The ISO was 100. The shot was handheld.