Martin woke up to a beautiful, sunny day and breathed in a sigh of pure happiness. The radio alarm kicked in a few minutes later and the host on the breakfast show was in the middle of a rant – telling his producer how annoyed he got when people said something was ironic when they meant it was a coincidence. Martin laughed at how cross he was getting but made a mental note to bring that up in conversation some time – it was just the little nugget that his wife Paula would like. Yesterday had been people using ‘literally’ in the wrong context; “He literally laughed his head off!” That had made her laugh which pleased him. There hadn’t been much to smile about since he’d been made redundant after thirty years with the same firm.
But over the last few weeks things had improved so much. He had this wonderful new job that a mate of his had put him on to when he was down the pub. It meant he got to spend time outdoors and be around people – two things that he loved. He checked the email on his phone to see where he needed to go that day.
‘Love? I’m off to the park in the town centre today – the council are having a family fun-day. I should be finished by two.’ He called up the stairs to his wife as he left.
He loved to see the families enjoying themselves: playing games together, having their faces painted, watching the steel band from the local school. He especially liked watching the children in their school uniforms, they had to be the same age as his three grand-children. Knowing how much nana and pops liked quotes and anecdotes he could usually rely on their youngest grandson Jamie to be sending him a famous saying. As if to illustrate that, his phone vibrated in his pocket “I’ve come to terms with my bi-focals, to deafness I’m resigned, I’ve accepted my arthritis, but oh, how I miss my mind!”
‘Cheeky little monkey!’ grinned Martin ‘I’m not in my dotage yet!’
Having done the rounds, making sure everyone on the stalls had drinks, and showing a lost little girl back to her relieved parents he grabbed a sandwich and coffee at the lunch stall. Sitting at the picnic benches he chatted to one young mum while she tried to feed her baby and keep an eye on a very lively toddler. People always chatted to Martin, he had time for everyone, and was a born encourager.
In no time it was nearly two and he finished helping with the clearing up before telling one of the others he’d see them soon. He bundled up his high-viz jacket into his duffle bag and jumped on to the bus home.
‘Had a good day love?’ Called out Paula from the kitchen. ‘Kettle’s just boiled!’
‘Thanks sweetheart, I’ll just go and change and I’ll be with you. I picked up that tablet that Jamie wanted for his birthday today.’
‘They must pay well, the council!’ called Paula ‘You keep treating the kids, and I love my new radio.’
Martin opened his duffle bag and looked at his haul for the day. A tablet, two I-phones, and a wallet with thirty pounds in it. People were just so careless with their belongings, they were literally asking for them to get stolen.