You okay, mate? You look forlorn.
Like the knight in ‘La Belle Dame’? I say.
‘Alone and palely loitering.’
‘On the cold hill side’. Keats, I say. “La belle Dame Sans Merci’
John Keats. Romantic poet. You must have done him at school.
This is a butcher’s shop, mate. Not an English classroom. What can I get you?
I’m staying in with a friend today.
Like me he doesn’t look for other company.
We’ll probably lounge around, watch Netflix, maybe go out the back for a spot of sun if it’s shining then back inside.
Telly, sleep, periodic caffeine hits.
Don’t answer the door if someone knocks.
Maybe check out this post to see if it’s got any likes or comments.
Think about food a little later.
More caffeine so we can stay awake long enough to eat it.
Not enough to bust any moves. No, No, No dancing today.
Oh and more meds to fight off this fucking cold — sorry, buddy —
which as the Kinks say, ‘has really got a hold on me.’
Cue Dave Davies. And The Two Ronnies.
So it’s goodnight from me, and goodnight from him.
There’s only one change room in the store.
I don’t check to see if it’s empty.
“Sorry”, I say to the guy who is trying on some clothes. “I’m in a bit of a hurry, do you mind?”
“That’s okay”, he says. “There’s room for two”.
I quietly disrobe and try on the gear.
“I’m good”, I say, changing hastily back.
So off I go to the counter, pay for my purchases which the assistant neatly puts in a bag, and head down the mall to meet my mate for coffee. .
It is only when I sit down that I realize I’m wearing the other dude’s clothes.
She’s reading the graphic novel Donna had accidentally left from her last visit. It’s Wuthering Heights. She’s unfamiliar with the format but rather relishes the art work that captures the violence and energy of the original.
Outside in the garden she is listening to the wind picking up, whining and whimpering like a dog that’s been shut out in the cold and she’s out on the moors again with Cathy and Heathcliff, her wild grey hair escaping from a loose bun.
I live in a street of hermits. I know people are there. I hear them putting out their rubbish bins in the evening. I see their TVs flickering in the windows at night. I hear the postman on his little buzz bike putting things in letter boxes, cars pulling in and out of driveways, voices in the street. I have not seen anybody for years. Perhaps I should get out more.
It had been a splendid evening but now, rankled by some recent memory and loosened perhaps by a little too much wine, he leaned across the table and made a cutting remark. She began to bleed almost immediately. His words raked across her wrists like a suicide attempt. She began to deflate in front of him. She had to learn not to take things so literally.
Hey! He said. Why are those bozos off the leash and I’m not?
You have Attitude! I answered.
Oh great! People with Attitude should be leashed? What about rappers, revolutionaries, politicians with morals?
There are no such things, I said, as politicians with morals.
You got that one right, he said. And anyway, what about you? You have Attitude. Perhaps you should be on a leash.
Perhaps, I smiled.
Look, he said, let’s change places, just for five minutes. That’s fair, isn’t it?
I had to concede that it was.
Hey! The collar’s a bit tight.
He loosened it a little.
So off we toddled along the beach, he on his hinds, me on all fours, the three bozos scattering seagulls.