Colin sank back into the sofa, and let his hands curl around the cushions to either side, mashing their softness between his fingers. He shut his eyes, drew a deep breath, then deeper still, and finally let the air seep from his lungs in a low moan.
It was time to take stock. He had no job, no prospects of getting a job, and any day now he would hear that he was losing the house. Karen would be furious when she found out about their home, but it would be less of a wrench for Colin, who hadn’t been allowed back there since she had thrown him out.
At least, the bank was relatively civilized. They’d sent letters, pestered him with phone calls and would only throw him into the street as a last resort. Murph the bookie had been more direct about what would happen if he didn’t get his money this afternoon. He’d throw Colin into the street, but only if there was a bus coming in the other direction.
“What do you think?” the saleman asked. “Comfortable, isn’t it?”
Colin opened his eyes and looked up at the smartly dressed young man. It was comfortable, just like the shop itself. Comfortable, and warm, and safe away from his worries.
“Once we do the paperwork, you can take one right out of the shop, and nothing to pay for six months.”
Nothing to pay for six months? Now there was an attractive thought. Colin knew he had to make a decision.
“So, what’ll it be?” the salesman asked.
Colin shrugged. Decisions. There was the river, cold and dark. The roof of the library, and a tangle of burst flesh and broken bones. Or the railway line... perhaps not. He got up from the sofa and walked to the door.
“If you change your mind, “ the salesman said, “I’ll be here if you come back.”
Colin left the shop, saying nothing.