They’re painting the Prom railings. It’s a bit like the Forth Bridge. It is endless. Though it’s been two or maybe even three years now. Council savings, perhaps? We see the painter in Morrison’s sometimes. He always says hello to him. Is it the same one? They are doing section by section. The bar end first. They put a coat of undercoat first and then the gloss. Black and yellow ticker tape had been wound round the uprights warning of wet paint. This morning some of it had been wrapped around the entrance to the shelter. It has come loose in the wind. It made me think of the scene in American Beauty when that boy films a plastic bag being lifted and tossed by a breeze. Here the tape danced. Winding and swirling like a light-as-air snake. Beautiful. I wanted to stand and watch it for hours. I could’ve done. I wanted to.
The lack of rain brought the kids out. Two walking towards Pier Pressure, both the boy and girl in shorts. Do you dabble in ..? he was saying. It sounded like dairy. Surely not? Another group of three, two lads and a girl, on a bench. They were fucking dropping those clubbing sounds…, one of the boys was shouting to much hilarity from the other two. I smelt pizza and fried chicken. Lip Lickin’ was open. A girl with purple hair was queuing inside Pizza Lush. Their music boomed. Following another threesome home. One of the girl’s lagged behind. Come on, the other two implored. The girl in front was tall and thin with legs like pins jutting from a pair of black lace-edged shorts. I’ve got the worst headache imaginable, the lagging girl moaned. And my house is at least ten minutes away. I could cry.
I was snoozing though the clunk sound woke me. It’s alright someone’s just hit my mirror, he said, it looks OK. He’d pulled out to avoid some cyclists. Later, he started to slow down. Someone’s flashing me, he said. He stopped the car and a woman came to window. She was very agitated. You’ve just broken my mirror. I’ve been following you. I’ve got you number. Her face was pink, even under the face powder. Look at it, she said, it’s half hanging off. I can’t afford to pay for a new one. We softened, both of us. Who’s to say whose to blame. But she was in such distress.
He called her last night. I just want to be reasonable, he said. And will call again tonight when she’s checked out the cost. It felt good to be kind. It is always the right thing to do. No matter the consequences. Is this car jinxed? Is there such a thing? Wasn’t it just another route to remind us of kindness and its centrality to our lives.
Another white page to wrestle with. I always get so nervous. Will it come? Will the story come. I liked the show. An intelligent artist. Let it come, let it flow. Breathe, Ellen. Just breathe.