His name badge reads Kyle. We are next in line and I listen to him conversing with the customers ahead of us. I had to call, he is saying, he was swerving all over the road. He was clearly drunk. Kyle’s large face is pink, excited to recount the experience. Saving the world. Doing his duty. They were on him straight away, says Kyle.Traffic cops. I saw the blue light. They’d nabbed him. He tells us the story too. He is delighted. It passes the time of day. Why not? They called me back, he says. Apparently, he was four times over the limit. Imagine that, I say. Imagine. I ask about Easter. No, he didn’t do anything special, went to see his new nephew. My partner’s not well, he tells me. Oh, I say. She lost a baby. I’m sorry, was she far gone? Seven weeks, he says. It must’ve been difficult for her to see the new nephew. Yes, he says, his face full of meaning, it was. It set her back, I think. Behind us in the queue is a man with no arms. A Thalidomide victim. He holds his cash with his fingers but they are hidden beneath miniature sleeves. I think about the Midwife. It began then in the early 60s. Well-meaning doctors prescribing drugs for morning sickness. It is all he has known. I’m sure he manages. There is no need for pity. It’s just different. That’s all. I wish him well.
From my window I look down onto the Quad. There is a man’s legs poking out from a ground floor flat. His French windows are open wide. He sits on a chair in the sun. On his feet are a pair of immaculate shiny black brogues.
Two young lads walking down Great Darkgate Street. Ahead is another with two girls in parkas. Oh, God, says one of the pair to the other, I’ve left my phone. He shrugs and keeps on walking before shouting out to the lad ahead. Enjoy your day, man, he shouts. Enjoy your day. The lad raises a hand in acknowledgment but doesn’t turn round. Enjoy your day.
And you my love, go well. Fall into unconsciousness with ease, with peace. You have been loved. x