I thought about possible collective nouns for night clubbers leaving the clubs for home in the early hours. A madness, perhaps? They lurched and sprawled. Admittedly, I am stone cold sober as I stride along past them. They in their now dishevelled finery, me in my waterproofs, hat and gloves. Our worlds do not meet. They do not see me. And I watch them as if through glass. A large man in a white linen shirt is moving towards me. His eyes are closed as he walks. Is he asleep? No, he jerks awake, but his gait is unsteady. A big man. Nearer the Pier Pressure club, a group of youngsters sit on a bench, all female. Another it standing up clinging to, or wrapping herself around, a sign post. Just beyond them a boy is lying on the ground. A girl leans over him. Do you need the kiss of life? she asks, then cackles. A taxi driver observes the scene from behind his windscreen.
I think I go unnoticed but it is not so for the man who I see often sleeping under the Castle calls out to me, just as I turn the corner. He is wide-awake and drinking from a large spirit bottle. Good morning, he shouts, in a voice that reminds me of Will in The Archers. Good morning, he says again, and I wave and say Good Morning in return. I see you every morning, he shouts before his voice trails off, bored now. But I am cheered. I’ve not known what to do. Do I greet him or not? Does he want to be left alone in solitude? Just because you sleep in the open air it doesn’t mean you want to be disturbed by every Tom, Dick or Harry who passes by. And yet, I am also wary of intimacy, what are the rules, the boundaries. Wait and see. He knew me and that was nice.
I am slipping my moorings. We go to London tomorrow. I am excited, yet disarrayed. I hold too tight to it all, I know this. It will be an adventure, I know it. And yet, to be home is safe, safer. I need to travel but the physicality of it tires me. My energy is precious. I shall do my best, try out these experiments, meet and talk to Caren and wait and see.
Just wait and see. You know you’ll love it, he says. And I will. I do. It was once my home, after all. Adieu for now.