Once upon a time, there was a girl who worked as a temporary cleaner for her university. She was assigned to work for three days in a hall of residence that was much like the other halls of residence. It was neither grand nor squalid, it was just alright.
On the first day, she worked alone. It was a tiring job, but the time went by quickly so she didn’t mind too much. She cleaned bathrooms and mopped floors and dusted and hoovered, and she was very proud of how nice it looked when she had finished.
On the second day, she worked with one of the permanent cleaners, who was a very kind lady and let the girl take a coffee break at eleven. The girl wiped bathrooms and made beds, and the guests were quite pleased that their coffee sachets had been replaced.
On the third day, she came to work and noticed another temporary cleaner who she hadn’t met before. He was shy but handsome, and he looked a lot like a young Neil Gaiman. When the other cleaners asked if he had done this before, he mumbled, “Oh, erm, I’ve done some shifts on University Park…”
The girl laughed inside, because that is exactly what she told them when she first arrived, in the exact same apologetic tone of voice.
She only saw him once after that. He was carrying a heavy load of linen, and her cleaning trolley was in the way. She stammered and apologized as she tried to move the cart out of the way, but he just smiled at her, and she smiled back. She had hoped to see him again when they clocked out, but her hair was frizzy, her face was red, and she was quite sweaty in her ill-fitting blouse from Primark, so she probably wouldn’t have tried to talk to him anyway.
She got home, and was so (mildly) disappointed that she would never see him again, she wrote a whole blog post about it the next day, in fairy tale form.
And there wasn’t a happily ever after. (Not this time, anyway.)