You needed to get out and away from everything. Too much stuff going on with work, too much stuff going on with your home life and you just needed some time out from everything.
Ending up on the cheap long distance coach website almost immediately after booking a whole week away from work, you started to look for places you could get to without blowing what money you had on. Amazingly it was going to be pretty cheap to go the capital, London, but it was on the overnight coach. You booked it, as it was only going to cost you £5 and decided to look to where you would be staying for the week ahead.
While it was going to cost a lot of more than the travel, you found somewhere in a clean and tidy hotel. Clean sheets, and a clear mind should sort you out you think. Now you only had to spend another couple weeks at work until your time off.
Setting your out of office on felt like a sigh of relief. Then a brief panic. You had not packed in the slightest, or even really thought of what you wanted to do. And you only had a few hours to order some takeaway, eat, pack and catch a bus to the bus station for your departure. A lot to do, immediately after a long and stressful day.
Your bus pulls into the bus station and you spot a coach with it’s display labelled “London Victoria”. Sprinting across, you manage to make it on time and luckily the coach was fairly quiet.
Finally knowing you were on your way and tomorrow was the start of a relaxing week ahead you sit back, relaxed and started to enjoy your journey.
You try and sleep on the coach, knowing you need as much sleep as possible to have energy to actually do anything the next day. Then the coach slows down as it comes away from the motorway and the driver announces it’s the motorway services break and everyone must leave the coach for the next 40 minutes. You stare at your phone, it’s just gone past 3am and you have to face the early hours cold and rain which was sweeping by on the journey.
Pulling into the stop, you quietely get off the coach. The place feels a little old, however not completely neglected that it felt dodgy. At least there were no missing letters from the signage.
The motorway services building is open, so you follow the rest of the passengers inside and have a look around. At least it’s better than being outside without a coat. With it being so early, the only thing open is a WHSmiths offering mediocre snacks at the most expensive prices imaginable. There was a closed Burger King, closed Subway, closed Waitrose, closed expensive phone shop and a closed mini slot machine area. You didn’t expect much to be open at this time, but it would have been nice to at least have an additional option.
A sign points towards the possibility of more facilities available on the northbound services, attached via a footbridge. Going through the unassuming set of double doors brings you to a building with an entrance out into the rain and cold outside, and a corridor labelled as taking you to the Northbound side of the services.
You follow the corridor across to the other side, noting the amount of noise generally coming from being fairly high up in a run down corridor, while also having motorway traffic beneath you. While the main building didn’t feel run down, the corridor did. It felt as though it wasn’t quite part of the services and had maintanace kept at a bare minimum.
Crossing over, there is another exit to the outside, or inside what you assume would be an identical set of mediocre facilities. The outside while similar, you could make out had a portacabin through the rain. There was an open door, making a squeaking noise bringing your attention, and the inside had a light left on. You turn away, and pull the door for the services.
The door is locked. That stumpted you as surely the other side should be open as well, or at least why keep the bridge open if there’s nothing you can do on the other side. You turn back to the portacabin with interest. Why not have a look while you’re here? There was only a bit of grass in between so nothing to get that bad.
You quietely walk over, making sure nobody was watching and would question whatever you’re up to. Sadly, the grass was absolutely soaked so your trainers were covered in mud by the time you reached the open door. Entering the space you realize it’s absolutely empty and yet someone had left the lights on. It was just a changing room persumably for the road works on that side of the motorway. You persume all of the workers are already out, well working on whatever. You can hear the machinery on the road and see the ocassional flash of a warning beacon to make themselves visible.
Taking your attention back to the room, it’s full of various workwear and the smell of tarmac was pretty strong. Almost intoxicating. Just makes you want to take a deep breath, and get changed.
You pause. You don’t need to change though?
“Best get propa dressed” you reassuree yourself with. But you were sure you were trying to say ‘Best get back on the coach’.
Your body almost refuses and you try to think. You are going to London on holiday right?
Before you realize it, you’ve removed your shoes, socks, trackies. Wait, trackies? Didn’t you wear jeans all of the time as well? You sit down with your head really fucking hurting.
You need to get changed.
You pull on your thick waterproof, but also covered in bits of tarmac, hi vis trousers. Gotta look like a fucking traffic cone for the job.
You pull off your hoodie and put on the big waterproof and then finish off with the your boots. Ready to head out.
“Alright boss” you yell as you pass a familar face. He grins back and points you to where you’d be working for the shift.
You get to to it. Working with the fresh tarmac spreading across the road. Dirty worker-