You’re welcome

He clicked the alarm off and made his bed straightaway. He tugged at the edges to make it smooth, stared at it for a moment and then, satisfied, he walked briskly to get himself ready. His uniform was hanging up, ironed and ready for him. He held his head straight and steady as he buttoned his white shirt, did his burgundy tie and shrugged on his waistcoat. He must ask today for a belt with more notches. This one did not hold his trousers up at all. He inspected his shoes, still gleaming from last night. The bride had been magnificent, one of the best he’d seen in all his twenty years.

Walking over to the two empty single beds in the room beside his, he bent his knees and patted them in turn,

“This day is for you mum and dad. Just like all the others.”

Brushing his sleeve over his eyes, he moved into the dated kitchen, filled up the kettle and switched it on. He never wanted to make breakfast, especially when he looked at a hundred different variations every morning at work. He would never have thought of taking a bite of the bacon he piled up on other people’s plates, no matter how tasty it smelled.

These days they asked him to stay behind the scenes at breakfast. ‘Nobody wants to be asked how their day is going at that time of the morning.’ He wondered if someone had complained. Someone who wasn’t having a good day. Everyone deserves a good day, and he wouldn’t stop wishing it for them, no matter what the big bosses said. It’s what his parents had taught him, many years ago now.

The sun was pushing through the wispy clouds that reminded him of the dress he had seen yesterday and touching the red, green and orange leaves. This, right here, was the best part of his day. When he breathed in the crisp air and let the sun bless his head, he wanted everyone to feel as happy as he did in that moment.

He had seen the glances and heard them muttering about his repeated phrases but he didn’t mind. One day, many years ago now, someone had put their hand on his grieving shoulder, passed him a cup of hot tea and said ‘You’re welcome’. She was the only person to get close to him that lonely, abandoned day when he buried the only goodness and gratitude he’d ever known. If it meant as much to someone else as it did to him back then, he would keep saying it.

You just never knew when it would help someone, the way he remembered it had helped him.

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