He was sitting outside on a windowsill high up over North Road. He was black, a kind of soapstone, I think. A Buddha, fat and smiling the dark. The early morning streets of town has been full of students. Clubs open. Is it Reading Week? The scratchy, scrabbling, chattering noise of the starlings under the pier echoes the sound of the kids gathering outside the Why Not club and The Angel. Most wear no coats. The girls are bare-legged. One teeters in enormous platform shoes. She wears a gold ra ra skirt.
There is still a Christmas tree, still bedecked, in a bottom flat along South Marine Terrace.
Yesterday and I find a young man face down on the pavement. I bend down to touch his shoulder. Are you alright? Is he dead? He takes a little while to come round. He raises his head and stretches out his fingers. I’m fine, he says, groggy. Can I help you? I say, offering him a hand. No, he says, fingers splayed out, off the ground. Small hands. A pixie-like face. Dark. No, he says, I’m fine. I’m OK. I walk on. He is ashamed. I don’t turn round.
Today a youth in a baseball cap and striped tracksuit is shouting at the closed door of The Angel. You fucking mong! You fucking wanker! He shakes his fists. The clumps of students surrounding him ignore him. It is as if he isn’t there. You mong! It rains. A girl in a strappy leather dress hugs herself for warmth. Lines of taxis wait outside New Look. A man smokes a cigarette in a doorway. I find a black purse in the road. I walk away at first and then go back for it. It is empty except for a bank debit card. I post it through the NAT West letter box. May its owner soon find peace of mind.
I don’t mind the rain. It’s OK when you are in it. It is warm and the wind is gusty. There is an aliveness to it.
I listen to the sound of sewing. Calming. Therapeutic. I sew Proust. Word by word, letter by letter.
How will it feel to spend the day in crinoline? To sit in crinoline? And sew. On and on. I feel too separate from it. A little scared. There is so much I cannot contain.
We sat in our seat in the wall warmed by the sun and he talked of my goodness.