She was ahead of me. 3.15 am in the morning and she was wearing a ribbon-trimmed, wide-brimmed straw hat, a cotton skirt and ankle socks. An incongruous attire for such an hour. As I turned into North Road she began to talk to herself, her left arm making jerking gestures.
They were gathered in a cluster just by the Bar. The kicking Bar at the north end of the Prom. Wearing high vis jackets, some on walkie talkies, they all stood staring at the sea beyond Constitution Hill. One of them, a woman, turned to look at me as I walked down the hill. Their cars and vans had been parked in a line on the turning circle. Some had HM Coastguard emblazoned on them, others read HM Revenue and Customs. Was that right? My mind doubts it now. It was still dark. The light was only the yellow light of the street lamps. It felt officious. Was it a training exercise? Was a boat lost? Was it smugglers? A suicide? A drowning? I said nothing. Kicked the Bar and walked by.
By the station five lads were bundling themselves into a taxi, one was being sick in a corner. I heard his yell and then the retching. A man with a heavy rucksack on his back called out to me. You alright? he shouted. I’m fine, I said trying to smile. I strode on, hackles raised, walking too fast in case he followed, avoiding those pockets of dark.
Earlier another boy had called to me. Got any credit? he said. Pardon? I replied. Look him in the face, be gracious. Pardon? His voice was slurring. Got any credit on your phone, love? he asked. Sorry, I said, I’ve no phone on me. Love. That made it alright. That’s OK, he said. Goodnight, love. Goodnight.
Rain kept me off the Perygyl yesterday. This morning it was dry. The sunrise was a joy – a sharp pink turning to orange. See what we’d miss if we’d slept in. See what we’d miss.