Why do you do what you do?
Sophie Cardwell sits straight-backed against smooth concrete in an apartment she shares with her bank. (They’d met online. She’d been impressed by rate of response and how quickly they “got” each other). Twelve years of repayment remaining, your next payment the 4th thank-you.

Something to comment on when prompted by friends who invited themselves over. Arrival, surprise, it was always the same, such a lovely place you’ve got, leading questions and eventual, depleting disclosure. It’s an investment though innit. Necessary set-back. Pay your own mortgage not somebody else’s, that’s what I always say, lots of people say that.

Sophie Cardwell tries hard to feel good about being the slow owner of something other than personal debt and focuses all her energy on the cool wall now asking her to keep an aligned spine. It is now six o’clock. The doorbell rings. Shoes.

Downstairs a sweated hooded figure leans against the doorframe. From Oxford University without actually studying there. Huh. One can order online because one can use the Internet. Born in the 90s, digital native and proud. Sadly so.

Next-door lights flicker, its occupants preparing their own carpe diem and tend to whatever it was they trended to tend to at six o’clock in the morning. The whole street awake by five past. Life here is paid for and therefore medicated. You exercise yourself caffeinate yourself and try to like yourself before seven in the morning, looks of contempt for those who fall short. Sorry but you knew. You did though. 

Along the snaking road Sophie Cardwell feels fine. It’s the stair well which makes her feel unwell. Heaving an already exhausted frame up they decide on another rep. It’s the right thing to do they know, they know so they do. 

They are the kind of people that worry about being those kinds of people

ones who give up at a whiff of unearnt comfort. Not today not ever. We train no matter what the weather. Projecting the right sort of image is the first step in projecting your desired personal brand. Everyone is the author of theirs but not everyone knows this. See: Facebook.

Sophie Cardwell faces up, dipping deep into the blood blue sky and nods back again, it’s getting light are we nearly done? Nearly not quite. Means at least another ten minutes of self-inflicted practice. We do it because we love it. We do it because we really really like Cheesecake.

Sprint to the end, sucking, air, smiling, fin, ished. Wasn’t so bad wasn’t so bad. Wasn’t even that tired! Once you get into it. First half hour is the hardest, second half is the worst, geddit? What are you looking at.

A bike locked horizontally to the handrail causes Sophie Cardwell to frown. What a stupid, don’t they know that kind of thing encourages those kinds of people? Don’t they? Those people.

She wasn’t judging, them whoever they were, it was more a matter of principal.

Sophie Cardwell sits on shared steps, shared between two tenants, a tabby cat named frank and a fat bank, removes two muddied trainers. The post arrives and she smiles blandly at the man who brings it. He wanders away, unmoved.

Why do you do what you do? Turning the leaflet in her hands, she remembers being promised by a man in thin glasses that if she could find a job she loved she’d never work a day in her life. Twelve years of repayment remaining later why then does Sophie Cardwell do what Sophie Cardwell does? 

Quietly she hears a voice she intends to ignore stands straight shaking this unintended moment of reflection. Curling the card in her fingers it bends unevenly and is dismissed against the concrete, cool and decidedly forgotten.

The breeze lifts as it drifts down the street, self-awareness for somebody else.



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