Thursday, July 10

Words That Were Said To Me Tonight

I WENT TO THE shop and on the way out I took with me many bags of rubbish and recycling so that each of my fingers held a separate bag of rubbish and each bag pulled my fingers apart so that I was in great pain and all of my tendons were being strained and my skin pulled. The sky was grey, unburdened of rain, and quite far from the summer it was supposed to endow. I walked nervously because there was a man behind me. I smoked but it is a terrible habit. I walked around the building to where the bins are kept. There is a flat there where a couple live and I endeavour to not look inside because I reason that many people, on such routes, would do the same; usually, if I glimpse, they are washing up or eating; they eat endlessly in that flat and their flat is near where the bins are kept but, to me and my cigarette, it doesn’t smell around there. Around the area are chained many bicycles and covered motorcycles; the bikes are against each other, shiny metallic ribs and an uncut tree steeps high and tall, bloomed in green and no-one with guts enough to climb it. The sign by the gates says RAILWAY MEN: PLEASE KEEP NOISE DOWN TO A MINIMUM and most of the time they heed it. Dispensing the bags in their respective bins, I trace my path back very slowly (so that I may enjoy my cigarette) and see, over there, where the sun sets and fires up the dark heavens. The shop is brightly lit. I go straight to the till where the small Polish girl with her bosom heaving out of her top and the blue veins carousing over them is staring at me; sometimes she says hello, others she will ignore you throughout the rehearsal. Tonight she said hello and I said hello back—‘Can I get a pack of blue Drum, small blue Rizla and a pack of extra slim filter tips, please.’ She retrieves them from behind her and asks—‘So you go through a pack of this a day?’ Sheepishly, I reply—‘Yeah.’ She laughs sweetly and says—‘That’s bad!’ ‘Probably,’ I say, chuckling despite myself and my melancholy. ‘I have a bit left but I don’t want to risk it . . . risk running out. It’s a big risk to take.’ She laughed at me while looking away as I paid by card; all shopkeepers will look away, respectfully, charting their eyes at some distant point that cannot be fixed nor anchored on any one object but is a lucid back & forth. Without accepting a receipt, I wished her a good-night and she wished me one, too.

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