The whine of the bin lorry had her hurtling out of bed, leaving the door to the flat ajar as she dashed, barefoot, downstairs. Gagging at the stench from the partly-open lid, she grabbed the handle of the wheelie bin and lugged it across the cracked paving to the street. But the refuse lorry was already turning the corner, leaving behind a cluster of emptied bins belonging to the more organised tenants of the apartment block. “Fuck!”
From across the road, an au pair en route from the posh houses to the shops appraised her coldly. The Betty Boop T-shirt she wore as a nightdress barely covered her buttocks and her hair was always a nightmare first thing. Gemma gave the au pair the finger and trundled the wheelie bin to its parking-place by the back door, the rough paving damp beneath her feet.
Whatever she did, however hard she tried, it was never enough. This was only a small disappointment, but brick by brick her small disappointments and failures massed into a substantial wall. And her day hadn’t even started.
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