Tomorrow. Short Story.

He stifled a yawn and continued working, the only sound in the office the clattering of his keyboard as he typed and the occasional pause filled with the sound of him drinking coffee. He had to work late again, the fifth time this week. It wasn’t his fault, the company had downsized twice, dumping him with most of the work. He had a choice, he could do it, or quit. He rubbed his eyes, trying to focus, at least he was getting paid for it, that was something. He glanced at the clock on the computer, it was half nine, he wouldn’t be done here till at least ten, wouldn’t be home until half ten. Becky would be pissed off at him again, he knew as soon as he rang her to tell her he was working late. He wasn’t surprised really, she had been pissed off the last four nights too. He tried to make it more positive by pointing out the extra money he was making. They were trying to save any way, what with babies being on the horizon and all. She was angry that he was working late, but he knew that anger would be nothing if he quit or lost his job. They needed it, she herself had been let go only a few weeks prior. They were able to survive on his pay check comfortably enough after cutting off some expenses, but they couldn’t really save anything. The extra work was good, more money meant more savings. Becky was probably just angry with herself that she’d had no luck in getting another job. He had tried to reassure her that it would take some time, that it wasn’t her fault, but it was tough for her. She hadn’t been out of a job since she was 16, normally able to slip in and out of them as she pleased she found it jarring to have every application turned down or ignored. It wasn’t for lack of trying either, she had applied to everywhere she had seen help wanted signs and a few places that didn’t, she’d been ringing through the newspaper adds and trawling through those online and still nothing. It was starting to get her down too. He wasn’t worried, they would be all right for a while, Becky just needed to relax a little.

Truth be told though, he didn’t like how she was acting, they had been fine until she had been fired, then she had done nothing but moan and complain, a complete change for the upbeat positive woman he had always known. He knew she needed to get rid of her negativity and he allowed her to dump out every angry thought and feeling she had, but it was getting a bit much. It had ceased to be complaints about where she had worked, or about how other people had treated her through the day and turned into her complaining constantly about him. He didn’t do enough, he wasn’t around enough, she had asked him to do this one tiny thing almost a week ago and it still wasn’t done. He loved her, he really did, but it was getting to be too much. The constant barrage of noise and hate, she had to get it out of her system, but he didn’t really know if he could stand it for too much longer. He had considered staying with his parents for a night, just to get away. Of course this didn’t help him get home any faster, which in turn led to more anger and resentment. He clicked save, then begun the arduous process of shutting the computer down. Signing out of programmes and waiting for it to shut down. He wasn’t allowed leave the computer until it was completely off. He looked around the office and he was still the only one in it. The only thing keeping him waiting was the fact he didn’t really want to get home. When the computer was finally off, he tidied his desk a little, putting pens and paper away, bringing his coffee cup to the dishwasher. When that was done, he began to pack up, checking and double checking he still had everything. Finally out of excuses and little things that didn’t really need to be done at all, he went to the lifts. He pressed the button and waited. Normally he took the stairs, but they creeped him out at night. The lights inside them were dim enough, giving enough light to see but causing shadows in the stairwell, the footsteps echoed off the walls beautifully, making it seem like an entire army could be marching down them. The lift doors opened and he stepped inside, pressing the ground floor button. The lift descended in silence, and while he waited for it to stop, he found himself suddenly extremely tired. He’d get home, have a brief how-was-your-day conversation with Becky then go straight to bed. He was in early in the morning, but then the day after that, he had a day off. Once he could make it to that, he could sleep in as much as he wanted. Becky had taken to sleeping late in the day since she had been fired, he would probably be up before her too, so he could make her breakfast in bed, it might help cheer her up a little, maybe go towards getting her out of her funk.

The lift doors opened and he stepped out into the lobby, it too was equally deserted. He went around the receptionist’s desk and opened the security box, quickly keying in the code. The timer started and he closed it over, jogging to the door. Quickly, he unlocked it, stepped outside, then closed and relocked it. He waited for a few seconds and saw the brief flash of light, signalling the alarm had gone on. He pocketed the keys, then began the walk to his car. He normally parked a little further away than was necessary, feeling better about himself as he was able to believe he was making some effort towards being healthy without needing to really do anything. The area was empty of people, which wasn’t that unusual. There were a few cars still parked near his, others who were working late, or perhaps they belonged to the few residents that lived in the area. He unlocked his car and slid into the seat, sitting for a moment, before starting the engine. He was getting really tired now, his eyes burning slightly, he rubbed them, then turned on the radio and rolled down his windows. He pulled out onto the road and begun to drive.

The drive home was monotonous and he struggled to stay awake, the roads were devoid of any other cars, he waited at lights, fighting the temptation to drive through them, though there were no cars around, there were probably traffic cameras and the last thing he needed were a bunch of tickets for running red lights. Eventually the lights changed, allowing him to move forward. There were a few other cars on the roads when he left the business district, but not many. It seemed most people had decided to get an early night, he passed on group of drunks, stumbling down the road shouting to one another, but they seemed to be the exception, they probably just had one too many glasses of wine with dinner. When he reached his area he navigated the maze like streets easily and without thinking, despite the loudness of the radio, it had already become background noise, so much so that he didn’t even know what song was playing when he turned the engine off. He sighed, the windows were still open. He turned the engine on again, then jumped as the radio blared to life, reaching out quickly, he turned it down, then off and closed the windows. With that done, he got of out of the car and stumbled to the door. Once inside he slipped off his shoes and dumped his brief case beside them, Becky would be pissed if she saw it, but downstairs was in darkness, and he would be awake the next morning before her. As he ascended the stairs he loosened his tie and began undoing shirt buttons. He stopped in the bathroom and brushed his teeth, then continued one.

The lights in the room were off, Becky no doubt was already asleep, he paused and listened to her gentle breathing for a few seconds, smiling. He really did love her. Then he stripped out of his suit and climbed under the covers, staying awake long enough to reset the alarm on his phone and plug it into the charger. With that done, he closed his eyes and fell asleep immediately.

Beside him in the darkness, Becky lay awake, staring at the ceiling. She had pretended to be asleep when he had come in, she didn’t want to talk to him. She had felt so guilty the last few weeks, he was working so hard, so very, very hard and what was she doing? Nothing. And he’d been so supportive, commiserating with her and comforting her. But she felt like shit. She’d been lying to him, she hadn’t been fired, she quit, she hadn’t been looking for a job either. She had circled a few things here and there in the papers to make it look like it. Printed out a few C.V.’s, even handed in a couple. She had gotten some call backs from those too, but she told them she already found something else. She didn’t know why she couldn’t face going to work for the few weeks before she quit, she truly didn’t and she had tried to keep at it, tried until the thought of going made her want to throw up. There was nothing wrong with the job really, nor the people she worked with. She didn’t understand it, she just knew she had to get out of there. So she gave her two weeks notice, barely managing to make it through that, then on the final day she packed her stuff and brought it home. She was crying when he came home, trying to figure out how to explain, he had seen the tears and immediately asked if she had been fired and she just went with it. Really, they were tears of relief. She had been so hard on him too, she hated herself for it, but just couldn’t seem to stop, everything pissed her off, every little thing annoyed her, she just couldn’t help herself from saying it. She didn’t know what was wrong with her, she had even taken a pregnancy test, her father had always joked her mother went crazy when she was pregnant, but that wasn’t it. The two tests were negative. She rolled over onto her side, facing away from him, she couldn’t look at him now without feeling nauseas with guilt. He was trying so hard, doing everything he could to keep them going so they could save up and start a family. In the darkness she shut her eyes, trying not to cry, trying to alleviate the guilt. Finally she decided, tomorrow she would find a job, tomorrow she would start working. She felt a little better, knowing that the promise was the exact same as the one she had made the night before and the night before that, knowing that when morning came her determination would flee from the rising sun. She shifted slightly, getting more comfortable. Things would be better tomorrow. Tomorrow was when she would deal with everything. Tomorrow.


About Alan James Keogh

I am a 26 year old writer who somehow tricked U.C.D. into giving me not only a degree in English and Classical studies, but an Hons Masters in Creative Writing too. Visit my blog where I post short stories twice a week (Monday and Wednesday) and an installment of a serialised novel on Fridays. I did consider writing this in the third person, as though it was written by someone else, but Alan is not comfortable writing in the third person as it seems kinda creepy and unbalanced so Alan decided it was probably best to write in the first person. He hopes it went well for him.
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