My Ideas of Heaven

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I was not long 20 and wondering what I was going to do. Mum was making noises about her and dad definitely moving to Australia for a better quality of life as soon as they could. All the were waiting for was all the loose ends to be tied up. My eldest sister Ellen had married an Australian who was working over here and when he went back she went with him. They have two very young boys mum has not seen so a good reason she wants to go. My middle sister Sandra is out in Singapore at the moment where she is a nurse and is hoping to move to Australia soon to live and work there so another reason mum wants to go.

I’m not going as I love my job as well as have my friends at work here. The only problem I have though is that I don’t really fancy living on my own. I don’t fancy sharing a house with lots of other girls like some of the other operators do either. I didn’t mind if there was just two of us so we had more privacy as that had more appeal.

The trouble was smaller places were harder to come by which was why most shared a house to rent. There was also the fact I knew of no one who was looking to share a place with just one other person. Those who still lived at home in the town were happy to stay where they are so there was no joy there. I thought I might need to have a good rethink about it and see if there was another solution while I had a bit of time yet.

*********************

That Monday I saw Tanya Wilkins come in 20 minutes early for the start of the 4 o’clock shift so I gave her a wave. Some did not like her as they thought she was aloof but I thought she was really nice. She was 23 and second in command of her shift and the youngest to hold that position. You had to be 25 to be a shift leader but I had heard she would be promoted should they need to fill the vacancy if they decided she was better than the other two who were on the same level as her.

I did wish I was on the same shift as her. Every six months they had a minor change around with a big one each year. The 3 shift leaders were the only ones not to change. The changes did cause a bit of chaos when you moved and had to work shifts you preferred not to.

I was more upset when after my first year I was moved onto another shift and no longer worked with Tanya. She meant a lot to me as she had taken me under her wing when I first started and I would never forget that. Not that she needed to teach me much but being new the girls in reception tried to give me a hard time. I was never sure if it was just me as most of us prefer to get on with our work and reception does theirs even if it often means getting instructions from us. Sometimes it was silly things but when important like when I tell reception the customer needs contacting as soon as possible it is not a request. They did that a couple of times ignoring me and not doing what I told them when I first started. Tanya blew a fuse each time when I told her what was wrong. She would go into reception and tell Caroline who was in charge to get her finger out and sort it now or else. They knew too she would go to the bosses in turn and create merry-hell so they would run around doing whatever she told them to. Not that I really have problems now I am higher up but they do little things to niggle me.

What really annoyed the girls in reception was that I did not have all the grades needed for the job or so they thought. I had wanted to be an architect which then was a bit strange for a girl. I had even taken Technical Drawing at school. So after I left school I went to college where I learned Engineering drawing. As it was an engineering course I also learnt welding and designing integrated circuits. There were three of us girls so I felt good. I did one year and got the pass. I was thinking about doing two years for the second pass but saw it as a waste of time as it seemed impossible to get even interviews as a junior architect when I applied for jobs. So at just 17 I wondered what else to do. Then I saw this job for an operator.

I went for an interview. I showed my two O levels and my Engineering pass which was equivalent to 4 O levels. I mainly got the job as they really needed someone as Simone the operator they had was leaving. She was tall with dark hair, slim and very pretty and in ways was a softer version of Tanya.

We got on really great and soon she was teaching me everything I needed to know. In ways and like her I soon saw the computers consisting of mainframes and midi-computers as my babies. I was responsible for powering up the mainframes each morning as well as other things. I was also responsible for making sure they all worked and to get the engineers in as soon as possible as delays cost money. The only two drawbacks were the cables that criss-crossed the floor so you had to watch where you walked and then there were the programmers. Like Simone I tried not to let them loose on the mainframe machines as they could cause total chaos especially with others waiting to use the machines at the time they booked.

After nearly casino siteleri 9 months I was getting a bit fed up. With being the only operator you never knew what chaos you were going to come back to even after only a few days off.

As the mainframes had been made by a company up the road I made a concerted effort to contact them while I looked for other jobs. I spoke to a woman in Personnel and asked if there were any jobs going. She told me not at the moment but did send me an application form to fill in. I was lucky as a vacancy came up and I got an interview. Mr. Williams the guy in charge of IT was very nice. The only problem I worried about was that I needed to give a months notice. But, still I saw Mr. Hollis in charge of the Computer Room and Julia Mortimer the shift-leader there running the day-shift and who took me for a guided tour around the computer room. A far cry from where I worked with raised floor to hide the cables. Air-conditioning that worked and all those computers I could work on if I got the job. I did like Julia and liked she laughed when I told her about the computer room I worked in. I did ham it up a bit saying you did a hop, skip and jump often as you crossed the room which she found funny.

Well I got the job although only had two weeks to teach my replacement. I did try to tell him how to treat the programmers but I could see he was too soft. All I could tell myself when I finally left was that I did warn him.

The first day I started my new job I was on days. I was a few days off 18 so couldn’t start shifts until the following week anyway. They gave you a week to settle in which I thought was good because as soon as I signed all the paperwork and taken down for a pep-talk with the boss Tanya was given the job of looking after me.

While she gave me a guided tour of the buildings we talked about my last job as well as about me. I did tell her I had dated a couple of guys after leaving college but not seeing anyone at the moment. She told me about sitting her A-levels at the Grammar nearby and then starting here soon after. I went to the secondary school near hers I admitted. At least I felt better she did not seem to mind as there was a bit of rivalry between the two schools and had been for years.

I did like that even when I operated the machines that first week she mostly sat next to me and chatted about this and that. Since she could see I knew how to operate she told me she wasn’t going to teach her granny how to suck eggs. Which meant she wasn’t going to try and teach me something I already knew how to do?

There were lots more to learn with all the different types of machines when work for them did come in and I loved it as she was a great teacher. So I was soon learning everything. The hardest part was when she showed me how to work a new machine they had just got. Not that they used it yet but it was her little joke. It was made by the company we worked for.

After we sat in front of it Tanya got the operating manual out so I could see how to start booting it up and asked what I thought. I looked through it and wondered to myself what is this. When I turned to Tanya she was smiling. She told me then this was what the engineers thought of as operating instructions. I did ask if they knew how to write English and Tanya admitted she doubted it. She then got a small folder out and after opening it I read through the instructions. After I set the switches and booted it up I saw the initials at the bottom and told her she wrote them. She asked how I knew so I admitted I saw her initials were there in very small print on the back page so she gave me a nice smile. I did ask how she managed to get the information from the manual and she admitted with great difficulty. I did admit I was impressed as I would have preferred to send it back and tell them to try again. I liked when she told me she had thought that a few times.

********************

After James McPherson one of the evening operators took over my machine at 4 I went over to see Tanya. I had not seen her since last Thursday night when I finished evening shift at 12. She was looking a bit sad then and admitted she and her partner had a falling out.

As soon as I reached Tanya I asked her how she was. She looked sad and admitted they had split up the weekend. I told her I was very sorry as I held her hand. She gave it a gentle squeeze back. I told her if she ever needed me I was always here for her so she thanked me for that. I thought the guy had to be a complete fool but couldn’t tell her that in case it made her feel worse.

She still asked if I was dating yet. I admitted I still hadn’t bothered to look and working shifts made it harder. She agreed it did. I did ask her if she knew when the new posting went up and she thought this week sometime. When she asked why I admitted I hadn’t booked holiday yet and I might as well leave it until then. She told me she had hers booked for the end of August in just over two months time and would still go on her own. I asked slot oyna anywhere nice and she told me camping down in Brighton. I confessed it had been a long time since I had been camping and had never been to Brighton. She told me it was lovely down there so I told her I might have to try it one day.

In ways I felt a bit sad leaving her. Not that I was sure I could console her but I hated seeing her sad. I still thought the guy had to be a real jerk as she was so nice. It did make me feel a bit better I wasn’t dating at the moment as well as there was the fact my parents could go to Australia whenever everything was ready.

Not that I hadn’t tried to date much since I first started but they never lasted long. What with the shifts as well as the problems that caused and throwing my body totally out of sync for nearly two months. Lots of us had problems at first which made me feel better it was not just me. Nights were still the worst as I went into a deep sleep as soon as my head hit the pillow. I doubted even a bomb would wake me. Days had their problems too as with little sleep it was hard to wake at 6 each morning. And then there were evenings when you finished at 12. It took a few hours to unwind and I did crosswords and that trying to tire my brain out so I could get to bed otherwise I would lay there for hours waiting for sleep.

Each evening I spoke to Tanya and wishing I could cheer her up. The second evening I did give her my phone number and told her although I knew she probably won’t call me but, if she ever needed me even for a chat I was always there.

Thursday I was a bit down as I was still on the same shift like Tanya was. I was still looking at the notice just inside the door after my shift ended when Tanya moved behind me and placed her hand on my shoulder. She asked what was wrong after looking at it although I knew she had seen it when she came in. I asked her if she realized it had been a year since I was on shift with her and looked like another 6 months at least until the next posting. She did move to look at me. I told her I enjoyed working with her rather than a lot of the other operators. She asked if they were giving me problems. I shook my head and told her she was so nice that I liked being on shift with her. I told her too as she was on days and I was on nights next week I probably wouldn’t see her for a week. I realized what I said and that she might realize I liked her so much more. So I told her I hated seeing her sad and not being there for her in case she ever needed me. She told me she would be fine. I did bite my lip after telling her I worried about her. She did tell me I shouldn’t but liked I did so I returned her smile.

I did think about Tanya on the way home. In ways I wished we were closer so I could give her a hug like I had done with my school friends whenever they were sad. I even wondered what it would be like to be held in her arms. I thought she would probably make me feel safe like some of my friends did when they held me which was a nice feeling. I did feel a little sad that I had seen none of my friends since leaving school. I even looked out for them when I went into town each time.

I did feel a little sad Friday at the end of shift. I gave Tanya a smile before we talked about what we might do the weekend. It seemed not a lot apart from me helping my mum with the housework and Tanya cleaning up her bed-sit. I did wonder if that would make her sad now her partner had gone but couldn’t ask in case she was trying to forget him.

The following week each day we finished all the work well before 8 our finishing time. Once it was all done there was no need to stay. It was a nice perk of the job apart from the fact I had no reason to sit around for a couple of hours waiting for Tanya to arrive for the day shift.

Summer was nice as I could now lie in my bed and sleep with the windows open. The down side was waking from a deep sleep as I always woke with a headache. It didn’t help either when neighbours were home or they were mowing the lawn or having extensions built. At least it made you get out of bed to escape the noise. But winters were really the worst when you worked late so woke late and mum had a stew cooking. I didn’t like eating too much breakfast as it was and waking up with my body telling me it was breakfast time even if it was early evening and having to face a stew I think I would rather go back to sleep if I could have. At least we all laughed about it at work the things we all endured to earn good money.

I was really glad when Monday came and I was on evenings so I could see Tanya when she came on at 12. I still worried about her especially as I knew of people who took a while to get over a break-up. I had a couple at school and felt bad then. Not that I really think about them now as it was more reliving what I felt and how you felt you were going to die without them when you broke up. Even now I am not sure if I ever really felt the real thing. Not, that it didn’t feel real at the time but as you get older I canlı casino siteleri guess you see things differently and understand them better.

I did linger after my shift ended. Tanya I was sure was still sad and tried to hide it. We mostly talked about what gossip we heard at work like who was dating whom. Being on shift you did not always hear what went on especially a juicy bit of gossip like someone getting sacked and that. The operators always tried to tell one another. It was funny in a way as we all got on even though we were all from different backgrounds and if anyone from outside the Centre upset one of us we would all stick together.

I was still there and now sitting next to Tanya trying to decipher the programmer’s instructions as she was having problems. He was one of two we reckoned kept pet spiders in their offices and let them write the instructions. It certainly looked like a spider had crawled across the paper.

Tanya was talking about her weekend and about taking a walk in the park. I still let her know I was listening as I tried to unravel the scrawl. She told me Sue had been and collected the rest of her things. It took a moment for that to sink in. I was a little unsure if she was just talking about a friend or if her partner was actually a girl. I did murmur so she knew I was still listening.

When I did look up it was hard to tell if she was looking worried. I gave her a smile and told her I had cracked it. She said “go on then smarty-pants.” I told her “it said, if anything untoward happens then record the results and abandon job.” “Are you sure?” she asked sounding doubtful so I handed it to her. She did look hard at it for a while. She admitted she was still doubtful but it did sort of fit and better than what she had come up with so far. Still she thanked me and I told her “anytime,” while I was still wondering about Sue.

I finally worked up the courage as I wanted to know Tanya better and asked “you were saying about a Sue, is she a friend or something.” I could see Tanya was frowning before she admitted Sue was a bit more than that. I told her I was sorry as I did not mean to upset her. She told me it was alright. I asked her then if I could tell her something and she told me I could although I could see she wondered what it was I was going to say. So I told her I would never forget how nice she was to me when I first started and I liked her too much even if her partner turned out to be a girl. She asked if I really meant that so I nodded then crossed my heart. She admitted then Sue was her ex and thanked me for not minding. I did ask if there was a chance they could get back together and she shook her head. I told her I was sorry. She told me not to be as Sue had fallen in love with someone else. I did ask if Sue was really blind or something which made me blush when I realized what I had said. Tanya teased “that was sweet,” which had me blushing even more.

I did ask if anyone else at work knew and she shook her head. I held her hand and told her no one would ever hear it from me if she worried. She thanked me for that. I did tell her I thought she was the first lesbian I had met. Although the first one I knew of I amended. She did ask what if my friends were and I admitted I would not have minded as most of my school friends I was close to. I did tease I doubted the boys would have minded either and told her one of my friends to wind up the boys would talk about seeing girls kissing and the boys would all gather around with their tongues hanging out wanting to hear more. I did tease that was better when Tanya laughed.

Over the following weeks Tanya and I became even closer often talking about everything and anything. It was nice to see her smiling more and not looking so sad. I did try not to talk about girlfriends not wanting her to think about Sue so told her jokes I heard and that.

I did ask her about how much it cost and that to rent a bed-sit. As she wanted to know I told her about my parents. I still had no idea when they were going I had to admit so I was still looking for different options. I did tell her ideally someone with two bedrooms if I could not get a bed-sit as it would be more private than renting a house full of girls. I was glad she knew what I meant as she told me she had rented with some girls for a while and there were always queues to get to the bathroom as well as using the kitchen.

It wasn’t long afterwards she raised the point about a long time for me since I went camping and never having been to Brighton and asked if I fancied going on holiday with her. I did hesitate and she told me I had nothing to worry about from her. I told her it wasn’t that. She asked what it was then so I asked her if she was sure I wouldn’t cramp her style in case she met someone. She gave me a smile before she told me what she really wanted to do was just enjoy time away with some good company. I gave her a smile for that and told her I would love to come. We even went and checked the holiday charts and as there was no problem I filled out a holiday request form there and then and put it on the boss’s desk. After then we mostly talked about what I would need to take like light clothes and books to read on the beach when we did not go sight-seeing.

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