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Though he had promised me peace to read, he hesitated in the doorway.

“Try to remember that it’s not all black and white, try to think – ”

This from my father, who had not brought me up to see the world in shades of grey. My contempt froze the words on his lips, and at last he walked away, defeated. Yet he was my father, and for that I had not reported the discrepancies when I first found them, and though I had demanded to see the real books I had agreed, at his request, to come home, and to read them in the office that we had once expected would be mine. It was mine for this one evening, and I read.

They were not black and white indeed. It was red that quickly came to dominate the bottom line, and here, in his office, overlooking the shop floor, I knew what that red meant. It meant redundancies. It meant small suppliers with no one to supply. It meant a town dying on its feet. And what else did it mean?

I sat there long into the night, long after the ledgers had told me everything they could, and I was a long, long time answering that last question.

It meant that I, too, must learn to see the world in shades of grey.


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