Sunday 17 March 2013

6am and light. The sky is cloudless apart from...

6am and light. The sky is cloudless apart from the gas flue vapour that leaks vertically from the houses on Church Street and the zig-zag trail left by a confused pilot above them.
I bump into Patrick again. He's wearing his unusual yellow overcoat and a knackered black baseball cap. He tells me he's been to the 24 hour chemist to get some medication. He says he has the flu and feels terrible—sweaty and cold. He says he's been coughing all night and that he threw-up at around 3am. I say the usual things, "There's a lot of it about... Get yourself home to bed... Sweat it out... You'll be right in a few days", and then he says goodbye and holds out his hand, I think about it for a second and then I shake it. When I get to work, I go straight to the toilet and wash my hands.

Later, with dry gravel crunching under my feet and the starlings gathering in the trees above me, I swallow my first fly of the season as two considerable ladies with brooches and belts and heavy foundation pass me in a fug of something heavy by Yves Saint Laurent: "I know if I get out of the hairdressers for quarter-past I'll be all right."