There was a selection of options that Thursday might bring for Ted.
He might wake up to find his daughter Daisy had arrived home from back-packing two weeks early. She would be so excited to see him and chatter about her adventures over breakfast of eggs and bacon whilst she shoved travel clothes into the washing machine. She would produce an ornate carved box picked up in Thailand or India, filled with his favourite cigars and wrapped in handmade paper she had made in a craft session on a beach. She would apologize for not having a card but would kiss his cheek so he wouldn’t really mind anyway.
He might arrive at work to find the lift and stairways festooned with balloons and lamella, grainy photos of him copied and plastered in the lift carriage. There would be banner proclaiming his birthday and jaunty music playing in reception. The security men would tip their hats at him and Jilly on front desk would flirt, not believing he was as old as that. On the 4th floor, spontaneous applause would breakout when he exited the lift and headed for his desk. His PA Sue would bring out a large chocolate cake she’d made herself, the top lit with too many candles to count, not enough candles to mark his real age. He would blow them out, make a wish and his colleagues would wish him well as they tucked into a creamy breakfast.
He might receive a lunch invite from the Director. Donald would have his PA call up Ted’s PA and they would liaise over where and when to meet. But Donald would certainly take Ted to his club for a steak lunch followed by port and cigars and a serious talk. He would say how much he valued Ted’s input into the company, how they’d seen a year-on-year growth since Ted took over the 4th floor team. He would suggest it could be time for Ted to consider becoming a partner, that he should think it over. And he would insist Ted take that raise he’d been putting off due to austerity measures, because some people were too good to mark time financially.
He might share a lift at the end of the day with Valerie in sales, whom he’d had his eye on since Marti left him 18 months ago. She would be demure and polite, sliding her hand against the brass lift buttons to choose the ground floor option. They would be alone in the lift, sharing pleasantries until Ted grassed the chance to ask her out for a birthday drink, not your birthday Valerie, mine. She would look delighted and they would go straight away, spending the first of many happy evenings in Rosie’s Winebar across the street.
When he was sure he couldn’t squeeze a single extra snooze out of the morning, Ted got out of bed. He thought to himself how he would be satisfied with a card from Daisy, Sue leaving him a biscuit to have with his tea, Donald remembering his name was Ted not Bernard and Valerie not tutting and adjusting her neckline every time she saw him.