I always listen to hear if he is in his living room with the radio or TV on. I don’t want to talk to anyone when I set out on my walk. I’ve been awake for an hour or so by then and am not in a talking mood. Besides, small talk has never been my thing. Or his, I suspect. In fact, we probably both feel the same way about this, though he possibly wouldn’t think about it as I do. I saw that his window was open when I opened the door to the outside. I couldn’t see him but his light, shining yellow in the blackness, was on. When I walked past his head appeared and then his hand, cigarette ready to be lit. Or was it already lit? How does he light it? A lighter or a match? We wished each other good morning, or at least I think that is what we said. No, I think, I said hello and his name. Then there was a pause. Who would break it? I did. Have a nice smoke, I said. And you too, he said, moving into auto pilot, you too, he said again, you have a good stroll. Stroll? I thought as I walked. Stroll? Conventions, eh? It is hard to dispense with them, they offer a kind of order amid the chaos. It is easy enough, I suppose. And he, like most people is well-meaning and kind. I interrupt his reverie as he interrupts mine, but no one is to blame. It is the social order. A small thing. See how long I have taken to write of such a small thing.
They are beginning to mend the Prom. It’s been months now since the sea raised its stones.
The moon was full. A wonderful sight and it lit my way for most of my walk. How I love that white light. And the harbour was empty of cars for once, for now. And he is feeling a little better and has just set out for his walk.