How had I ended up here? It was a question I’d asked myself hundreds of times over hundreds of days, working in the hot sun with a heavy hammer. The tiny construction company I’d spent my youth working for had gone under a few years ago – I thought about them a lot. The owner had been nice, back then at least. He’d always looked after me, made sure that I had enough work to support my kids and enough time off that I could actually watch them as they grew – Terry, his name had been.
I’d left Terry to work for a bigger construction company; more benefits and better pay had been attractive at the time. It had been a mistake, of course. They’d spent every spare moment making sure I didn’t get those benefits, and the better pay bought me a nicer house that I barely ever saw.
Terry had talked for years about starting a design and build company, something to rival the local custom home designers on the Mornington Peninsula. I never thought he’d do it, to be totally honest – but he had, the wily so-and-so. He’d given it a red-hot go, too.
My wife had always supported me, but I could tell she thought I’d made a mistake. ‘Stick with Terry,’ she’d said at the time. ‘Terry has always been good to you.’
I suppose she’d been proven right – annoying how often that had happened over the last forty years of our marriage. I’d thought about going back, seeing if he had a place for me at his new company, but I think my new bosses saw me getting flighty. The promises of a raise came trickling down from on-high – empty words, of course, but persuasive at the time. To think, I could have been working for one of the best luxury custom home builders near me! Would my life have been different?
Would I have been happier?
Would Terry have succeeded?
I suppose that last thought is a touch arrogant – but I still have it almost every day, sitting here in my luxury retirement home.