Thursday, February 2

Bang On Noon

INEVITABLY THERE was a terrible taste in my mouth, all over my tongue & teeth, but it was a Tuesday morning and though I was hungover it was better than being at work. I struggled to roll over and check my clock only to discover severe pain in my neck and left knee. So this is how my day is going to start, I thought. I don’t know why I had to drink all of that wine.
The clock showed me it was nearly noon.
I fought against the pain to get out of bed. Manoeuvring my legs on to my rug was very difficult on account of my aching knee. I did not know why my knee should ache.
I pulled on my jeans and a t-shirt. The house was cold but it was empty. I went down, said good-morning to my dog—who looked at me with very round, brown, dying eyes—and rolled a cigarette.
The sky was grey and shone as if someone was lighting it from behind, as they did with those shadow-puppets back in the day. It was very cold. I zipped up my jumper. My eyes watered against the wind. Over the other side of the houses I could hear the school. Of course, it was lunchtime. I had forgotten the time already. School children of that age always begin their lunch at bang on noon. They are hungry from all
that energy they burn being young, I guess. I remembered when my lunches begun at bang on noon. Their sound reached me surprisingly clearly.
Just then it started snowing.
It was very faint snow very faint. It fell weakly. It was difficult to make out against the sky, though it was certainly there and it fell in revolving angles, chased around by the wind.
I huddled my collar around my neck.
The children from the school started to scream with glee. The noise from the playground doubled. They laughed and screamed and chattered loudly. It was all I could do but listen and grin.
As the snow continued to fall their sound dwindled until it was no more. I knew, then, that the children had been herded inside.
I shouted out—“Get the kids inside!” and laughed to myself.
My knee really hurt and I did not know why. Fortunately the pain in my neck was subsiding.
The snow failed to last long. As soon as it hit the deck it melted. After a couple minutes there was no sign it had ever snowed at all. Then the sound of the kids started again and that’s when I went inside to get warm.

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