We saw him from the car. I think we noticed him at the same time. He’s dapper, he said. He was wearing a long navy coat, a trilby and brogues. A tall man, he took long strides. Slightly out of kilter with his general appearance was the empty flax shopping bag he had in his hand.

You know that man we saw? I asked him later. You know, the dapper one. We’ll I saw him at the Nat Lib. Did you? he said. Yes, and he had holes in the back of his socks. And his corduroys were a little too short. Yes, he replied, I’d noticed the trousers but not the socks. There is something a little sad about the holes. They are evidence of things not being quite as perhaps the man would have them. Neglect. That is what it is. Neglect. We all need caring for. Sometimes it scares me the weight of it. And other times I welcome it. There is goodness in it.

He is better today. We have kept busy. It is better that way, no time to get maudlin. She was chirpy on the phone this morning, though her cold still lingers. It’s the weather she claims. She didn’t even want to go to the carol service. And her daughter is ailing too. I think of them so wrapped up in each other. As indeed are we. Is it wrong to be so? I am so blessed. I feel this daily, for all my fearfulness.

He was a gentle man with three curls of long hair at the back. On his computer screen was a picture of a motorbike against a landscape of hills. We’ve shared the same landlord, years ago. Did it help making that connection? Probably not.  He tried to help. All that technical stuff. It is another language to me. Out of reach. He tried to help. It will be OK. Everything will come together. Wait and see.  Meanwhile there is so much kindness.

No more dreams of mother. Just a woman I was watching from above through a window. The curtains had been drawn aside – she was half-naked and bending over a bed. Her hips were full and womanly. She was exposed to the street outside. 

The chest of drawers has arrived. To work.