Shirley Card

He isn’t a stoic. His eye is hurting him and he is scared. It is the same eye, the bad one. And we are supposed to go on a trip today, to see an exhibition that I am to review. I hold my breath. I don’t know what he wants to do. And, as yet, I haven’t asked him. And I have to go into work. It is one thing after another, or at least that is how it seems. They could be side-effects, but how can you tell for sure?

Tea and cake across the road was nice. I felt safe with them, or with her at least. He is slightly more tricky, I think. Unhappy, he seems unhappy with this new choice of home, of place. She is friendly, open, all smiles. A light room with lots of pink. It was pleasant to be invited in to someone else’s home for a while, though tea, so late, played havoc with my sleeping.

The students were out for their last spree before heading home. I tried to catch conversations as I walked past. It’s because I love you that I can tell you, a girl was saying to a boy, on a bench, as he ate pizza from a cardboard pizza box. Profanities were being shouted and then repeated from the shelter. You fuck me, you bitch. It wasn’t being exclaimed in anger, there was laughter, was it from a film?

They were talking about it on a podcast on Radio 4 Extra’s podcast hour. A ‘Shirley Card’ designed to help calibrate colour in photographs, a mid twentieth century phenomenon. Their concern, the talking heads in the cast, was that it was a calibration based upon white-skinned subjects, not black. As a result, photographs of black people left them featureless and indistinct. The card was of a woman in a white dress with primary-coloured cushions around her. They talked about the intermission images we always used to see on TV, you know the girl with the Alice band. When I was little I was convinced it was my elder sister.

Will he be OK? Am I to lose him?