Too Many Meatballs

In the food court by the call centre that Cheryl worked in was a stall famous for its meatballs. Which was very strange because every time a co-worker brought back a big box of them drenched in thick brown sauce, the meatballs tasted absolutely plain.

“What do you mean?” cried Ton, the latest co-worker to waste their pooled funds on this lackluster lunch. “How can anything that smells this good be bad?”

“I think they’re delicious!” agreed Brian, who was the second-latest co-worker to inflict this subpar sustenance upon them.

Incredulous, Cheryl had tried to exchange looks with Rachel, the only other person who hadn’t had a turn in buying lunch, but Rachel was new and nibbling timidly at her morose meal. Cheryl knew then that it was up to her. She resolved to take the next turn to the food court. She was not going to buy those maddening meatballs.

Resolve steeled, Cheryl forged through the food court to find finer food.

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To understand and appreciate the whys and wherefores of what lead Cheryl to the path she chose to sashay down that day you first need to know the circumstances of her morning and how those circumstances impacted her. These things are important. The things that interlace themselves in our minds to create our thoughts and continuously write the encyclopedia of ourselves, the very basis of all our decision making. A never ending tool of expansion and development (or, at least, until you get too old and grumpy to care any more, Cheryl was definitely not even nearly there).

The night before Cheryl had met her girlfriend. A particularly wet and annoying girl. She was skinny and averagely attractive, wearing jeans in that low slung way that makes all ‘normal’ people want to give them a tug to simply demonstrate that they are incorrectly placed. Normally the prevail of guys rather than girls but she insisted this was her ‘look’. Dark hair strewn in ways across her face that made no sense and were not becoming. More as though a hair tarantula had gotten its legs into a serious tangle and was hanging from the top of her head. She was not Cheryl’s ideal partner and Cheryl knew that but Cheryl saw the relationship as her opportunity to hone how to be with another person so that she could get it right when that person did come along. She would end it in a few months when she had sufficiently bolstered her encyclopedia and was not longer learning much.

However.

Her girlfriend called it first with the (shock) news that she had met someone else and, well, while this had been fun it was never serious and all the best and it’s not you it’s me…

This left Cheryl shocked. And then reeling. And ultimately led to too much tequila (almost five shots) (Cheryl is quite petite) and FAR too much Adele. Specifically Someone Like you, almost exclusively on repeat while she sang into her imaginary microphone and thought of being eaten by Alsatians.

The next morning she looked terrible, felt terrible and smelt terrible. She showered mechanically and repeated “Winner, winner, winner CHICKEN DINNER” to herself in the bathroom mirror, it did nothing for her. So she sang the only thing that always made her smile. A stupid university song sung at their varsity matches

"Your dad works for my dad!
Part time! Part time!
Your dad works for myyyyyyyyyy dad and YOU’RE GONNA WORK FOR ME!"

It cheered her up enough to make it into the office with a resolve that was stronger than before. And a positivity that was a little fragile, sort of similar to the flight of a butterfly - definitely flying but looking as though it could crash at any moment.

Between the meatballs and the calls that morning Cheryl realised some things.

  1. She never liked her anyway
  2. Her coworkers were idiots
  3. This job was shit

The meatball challenge was the beginning of the rest of her life. She forged through the crowds with Lily Allen in her head and a readiness to change.

“Watch out. Here I come” She thought with a demure smile of an inside joke slapped on her lips. Today’s lunch was going to be one to remember.

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