When Ash moved out from his family home four years ago, at the age of twenty, he had no idea how difficult adult life really was: having to keep track of finances and paying all the bills on time. However, the most difficult part of his life was heaving himself up in the mornings like this Friday morning.
“God.” Ash sighed out, rolling on his bed and, eventually, getting into a seated position. He rubbed the sleep out of his brown eyes and stretching his arms above his head. “Not a wink of sleep. Again.” He huffed out at himself as he stood up and half-heartedly made his bed. He stretched once more with a loud groan and briefly glanced at the digital clock on his bedside table.
Noticing the time, Ash’s eyes widened and he, almost, gasped aloud as he frantically ran around his apartment, gathering his clothes and his black satchel where he kept his wallet, a black apron and a change of clothes, just in case. He usually didn’t take his phone anywhere with him, knowing how distracting it was for him. He cursed under his breath loudly as he pulled on his shoes and rushed out the front door, running down the stairs and into the reception area where Ms Vento sat in her usual seat in front of the computer, typing away.
“Good morning, Ms Vento.” Ash panted out loudly, glancing over at the shelves behind the elder woman before flashing her a soft smile as he wiped the sweat off his forehead. “Any mail?” He asked quickly. Ms Vento hummed and handed the young man an envelope addressed to him from his family home – his mother. His eyes softened at the thought of his only parent, temporarily forgetting that he was late for work.
The woman behind the desk gave a small smile before glancing at the time. “Don’t you have somewhere to be, Ash?” She teased. Ash’s eyes flicked up instantly and he nodded, stuffing the letter into his pocket before dashing out of the large double doors.
Apparently, Ash wasn’t looking where he was going and crashed into someone. He plummeted to the ground, eyes closing as he hissed in pain. He rubbed his lower back and cursed at himself before finally looking over at the person he hit. It was a young woman with a suitcase, attempting to pick up her scattered papers and stuffing them back into the suitcase. There were tears rolling down her face as she bit her lip to stop any noise from escaping her mouth.
Ash stood up, quickly offering a hand over to the female on the floor for her to get up. She scoffed lightly at the gesture and stood up by herself, dusting her jeans off and pushing the young man’s shoulder as she pushed past him and walked into Ash’s apartment complex. The man watched her walk into the building before rolling his eyes to himself.
“Rude.” He frowned. “I wanted to apologize, but fine.” He ranted to himself as he gripped his bag closer to his chest and began to run down the street until he got down to Bernard Street after twenty-odd minutes of sprinting and getting weird looks from passersby’s.
He doubled over and panted loudly in the middle of the street before walking over to the all too familiar café – Brew For You. With a low, nervous, breath he walked into the café, wiping his face lightly and smiling at the customers who were already sitting in the café. He walked into the Staff Only changing rooms and hung his bag up on his peg, unzipping it and rummaging through the contents.
“No, no, no, no, no, no!” He shouted, tipping all the contents of his bag onto the floor and pulling at his hair in frustration, realizing he had left his only black apron back in his apartment. He slumped down to one of the chairs and hung his head. He sat there for what seemed like eternity – but was only a mere five minutes – until one of his co-workers walked in and sighed at the sight of Ash, doubled over in one of the chairs with his leg moving up and down in anxiety.
“Hey, Mr Carreiro wants to talk to you. He’s in his office.” The man in the doorway spoke loudly before leaving, letting the door swing behind him. Ash looked up at the swinging door and groaned again. He didn’t really believe that his boss would fire him, despite him being late for work the whole week, as he was one of the best employees he had on staff, but he couldn’t help being nervous. After all, another employee who can make coffee using a machine wasn’t that hard to find. He quickly discarded his thoughts and jumped up from his seat. With another quick breath, he left the changing rooms and walked over to his boss’ office door.
Mr Carreiro was sitting in his seat, behind his desk and writing notes into his weekly planner. His usual round glasses sat on his nose as he read over his plans, clearly looking distressed as he ran his hand over his bald head. Ash cleared his throat as he knocked on the slightly ajar office door and stood in front of it, waiting for a reply and permission for him to walk in.
“Come in.” The loud voice of his boss boomed in the café, making the young man on the other side of the door jump slightly even though he was expecting to hear his voice quite quickly. He hung his head as he drew in a nervous breath, staring at his feet, pushing the door open and walking in. He closed the door behind him and walked over to the desk, seating himself down on the spare seat in front of the older man. “So? Why are you late?” Mr Carreiro questioned, taking his glasses off and placing them down on his papers. Ash closed his eyes in embarrassment.
“I’m sorry, boss.” The younger of the two replied quietly. “I wasn’t able to sleep the whole night again.” He explained, staring at his shoes as he tapped his feet on the wooden floors. Mr Carreiro sighed loudly and nodded.
“Do you know why you’re unable to sleep at night? Do you need a doctor referral?” The older man continued, preparing to write a quick slip for the doctor in case the younger requested it, but was forced to put his pen and glasses down anyway as Ash quickly shook his head.
“That won’t help.” Ash looked up and shot a small smile in order to distract the man from his heavy, dark eyebags bellow his eyes. “Thank you for worrying, sir, but I’ll be okay.” He reassured emptily, knowing that he was lying and that he’ll simply end up passing out from exhaustion after work and wake up in the middle of the night.
“If that’s the case, get to work.” Ash’s boss playfully scolded him and pointed to the door. “Tell me if you feel unwell.” He said finally before Ash nodded and walked out of the office and to the front of the counter to get orders from the customers that come in.
“This will be a long day.”