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I finger the envelope with trembling fingers. My heart pounding, I slowly tear open the manilla flap and gently close my eyes. I can hear my shaky breaths penetrating the air. A feeling of precariousness washes over me. 

I slide the rectangular slip of paper out of the crisp manila envelope. As I take a deep breath, I open my eyes and disembark to reality. I can feel my eyes filling with tears as I glance at the tiny sheet of paper that is my supposedly my superficial key to happiness. 

My mind flashes to my lucid memories. The cold, crisp touch of the buttons on the cash register, restocking shelves miles high and hugging myself tightly as I reimburse the items in the industrial fridges. My smile never disappearing, even as I writhed and shook inside. The moment my boss stopped me at the sliding doors, and handed me the manila envelope, with a nod of gratitude. 

As I disembark to reality, I glance back at my lap and feel a smile slowly spreading across my lips. I have arrived. My first paycheck. 

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