Did you walk? she asked me as she put the money in the till. No, I said, thinking she meant did I walk up the hill to work.
It’s just that he wasn’t there this morning and I wondered if you’d seen him, she continued. And then I twigged. She meant did I walk the Prom in the early morning.
I don’t know her well. She, they, are his acquaintances. They give him free coffee and biscuits when he goes in in the morning to sit and read his paper. He must’ve told them about my early morning walks.
She’s talking about the homeless man who sleeps in the Prom shelter.
I took him a flask down the other morning. I went down today with a sleeping bag, but he wasn’t there, she says. I haven’t seen him for a few days, I say. I’ve got one of those army sleeping bags, they left them behind after a manoeuvre. They should be warm, shouldn’t they, she asks. I should think so, I say. She tells me his name. He’s from here, she says, and he isn’t a drinker or a druggie, it’s just his marriage went wrong and he just went off the rails. It’s easily done. He told me that someone put a scarf around his feet while he as sleeping, was that you? she asks. No, I say, and wish it had been.
I’m less thrusting, unsure whether to push myself forward. But I’m glad that he has such women on his side.
I dreamt we were all sharing this big house. And I was angry with him because he wouldn’t eat with me. I went into another room and needing to get rid of some water saw that there was no sink. I proceeded to pour it away into the bases of several plant pots. Don’t fill it too full, she said, and it was her daughter. I felt admonished. Everyone was out of sorts, including me. It’s just a dream, he would say.
The clubbers were out in force this morning, sitting in the shelter outside the Why Not? A girl in a sleeveless dress with a pair of felt antlers on her head, was talking to a couple of lads under the clock tower. You of all people, she was saying.
She is one today. A whole year has passed. She changes by the moment. As we all do I suppose, though her changes are so huge. I love you little one.