Will was trying very hard to keep a positive mental attitude, but sitting on the bus in a window seat, with a man beside him who clearly hadn’t had his weekly bath the previous evening, and judging by his constant sniffing had left his handkerchief behind for his mother to iron, was pushing his patience to its outer limits.
However, this was day two of his new life, so he wasn’t going to let a smelly, snotty forty-something mummy’s boy spoil his mood. He wanted to be in good spirits when he greeted Sonia with a cheery smile and a nice cup of tea. So, he just looked out of the window, and tried to blot out the noise by singing as much as he could remember of Pink Floyd’s Money in his head. He had never liked the idea of travelling with earphones stuck in his ears, but at that moment he considered it might be an option for future mornings, if only to ensure that he didn’t arrive at the office prepared for mass-murder.
Thankfully for him, and indeed even more so for his colleagues, he was in no such frame of mind when he arrived at his desk around half an hour earlier than normal. He had been so excited about the day ahead that he had got up early, showered, shaved and performed other acts beginning with ‘sh’ in record time, and rushed out to catch the early bus. Now, as he stood in the kitchen waiting for the kettle to boil, he regretted the fact that in all his excitement he had forgotten to eat breakfast.
Never mind, someone was bound to have a biscuit or something he could nick later. Eric, the current interloper between Will and Sonia, always had a good stash of snacks and nibbles tucked away in a drawer. As soon as this damned kettle had finished boiling and he had made his tea, he would go and take a peek at what was left over from last week.
Bollocks, the bastard’s got nothing. Will sat down at his desk, feeling a little less cheery and positive than he had when he woke up. Never mind, just keep thinking positive thoughts, he told himself over and over, not wanting to fail on his first day at work since his life-changing moment on Saturday night. He’d like to think he could get through the first day without being miserable, if not the rest of the week. He was realistic enough to realise that he was unlikely never to feel low, or miserable, or even a little lonely for the rest of his life, but hopefully he would be able to feel that there was a purpose to getting up in the morning.
That was his plan, at least. Of course, it would be tricky to change his mood so suddenly, after two years of being a miserable bastard, but as he sat at his desk that Monday morning he felt that he was up to the challenge. As people started to arrive, they were greeted with an uncharacteristic ‘Good morning’ and a smile, and most responded with a ‘Morning’ and a confused expression.
Sonia arrived just before nine, looking flustered and flushed, as she often did on a Monday morning.
“Morning Will. God, what a journey. Bloody traffic, backed up all the way from the flyover to the car park. Twenty minutes it took me once I’d come off the flyover just to get to the roundabout.”
“Well, at least you’re here now,” he said with his perkiest voice. “And a very good morning to you. I trust you had a nice weekend?”
She looked at him with an expression that seemed to be a mixture of suspicion and bemusement. “OK. What’s made you so happy all of a sudden?”
“All of a sudden? I’ve been like this for half the weekend.”
“All right smart-arse, you know what I mean. The last time I saw you, you were your usual miserable self, one minor disagreement away from making the lead story on the Six O’clock News, and now you’re asking me if I had a nice weekend as though you actually mean it. I’ve known you for too long not to be a little suspicious.”
“True. What can I say? I’ve had an epiphany, I guess. No more Mr Grumpy Bastard, just Mr Glass Half Full from now on.”
“I’m not sure I like the idea of that, but we’ll discuss that bit later. What I really don’t understand is why? People don’t change for no reason.”
Will looked around to see who could hear them. There was no one within earshot, but he still lowered his voice to make sure he could only be heard by Sonia.
“I realised a few things Saturday night. Things that have been making me miserable. And I realised the only person that could do something about it is me. So I’m going to build my relationship with Sophie and Jack, try and be friends with Andy again, and be nice to Abi. It was the realisation that I am still in love with her that kicked it all off, really.”
“OK.” Sonia was clearly turning over what he had said. After a few seconds, she said, “Didn’t you know that you were still in love with Abi? Wasn’t that a little obvious?”
“Not to me, no. I seemed to spend my whole time hating her. Why, did you see it differently?”
“Yeah, a bit. You spent a lot of time slagging her off, but I always got the impression that you still had strong feelings for her.”
“Positive ones, I mean. Anyway, I’m not sure if I like the idea of a cheerful, happy Will, but let’s see how long it lasts, shall we?”
It was no more than he expected from Sonia. She was as bad as him when it came to optimism and a positive outlook.
“Well, if nothing else I’ve got a clean flat out of it. And the intention is to keep it that way.” He knew that was the easiest part of the whole plan, but he was still proud of what he’d done yesterday. The plan now was to do it every weekend.
That bit at least should be easy to keep up. Getting over Abi and finding a new girlfriend? That might take a little more effort.