It is 3.00 am and I see four lads coming towards me along North Road. I don’t have my music with me so I can hear that they are talking about watching people. As I pass them, one of them, (he walks under a streetlight and I see he is blonde) catches my eye and calls out: What are you fucking wearing! I walk by. Was it to me? Was he talking to me or just continuing the conversation that they were having? The violence of his shout and the import of his insult rolls off me. It doesn’t touch, doesn’t penetrate. And I must look faintly ridiculous, after all. It had rained in the night so I thought it best to wear my new coat. A cheaper version of a Barbour it is long, virtually touching my ankles with a funny little cape thing that flaps around my shoulders. I don’t care, it is waterproof and I feel cocooned in it. Then passing the paddling pool which has now been turned into a sandpit, there are three boys hunched up together sitting on one of the giant deckchairs. One of them also calls out to me. Alright mate? I don’t reply, just keep on walking. You look like a pop star, he shouts. Then in unison, they all shout: And you sound like one!
What? he says when I tell him. I don’t like it when they abuse my baby, he says. Later he laughs as he recounts it from the shower….Alright, mate? I’m not really a ‘mate’ kind of person, I reply. No, he says. It doesn’t matter, any of it. I am not unsettled by them, at least not often. They are in another place to me, drunk mostly and showing off. I am an easy target.
A simple day yesterday, though I got a lot done. Top-to-toe cleaning of flat, followed by meditation, yoga, cutting out patchwork squares for his quilt, then baking shortbread and scones, making lunch and then a nap before supper and the ‘big one’ crossword. Other lives taunt me with their seeming bigness, but this is enough for me. I have my dark walks, my writing, my making, my radio and my love and this continual trying for peace. It is enough. And soon I will be away, for now I am happy to be still.
More than happy.