In a northern town
By Parson Thru
Another one of those days… so many just now. I woke at 11:35 last night. I’d been asleep for an hour. Put the light on. Another hotel room. There was a voice outside the window. I pulled back the curtain: some bloke in a hire van immediately below, window down, engine running, lights on, talking on his phone, speaker on.
I laid back on the bed. You’d been in the air an hour. Over Spain most likely, heading south.
I flew that whole journey with you. Read Greene; Solzhenitzyn; articles in the TLS. Tried lying down, sitting up, light on/off. Swallowed a Nytol around 03:00. “Arrived early: 05:08 local time.” BA flight tracker. I knew I wouldn’t hear for a while. No network. Poured a small whiskey. Swilled it around the glass and sipped it slowly. Turned the light out, buried my head in the pillow and fell asleep.
09:08. I’d planned to shower, eat a full breakfast in the bar, read the workshop submissions for tonight. Then drive back. Maybe stop of at the local library to delay the inevitable. Minimise the impact.
In the end, it worked. Listened to the coronavirus latest scores, then an interview with a much-travelled nurse. Could be you.
I found the cut through to Leeds Ring Road. North-west Passage through Shipley to west of Horsforth. Phone-in on the radio. Should I be more compassionate? I don’t know. Hate the feeling of being steered.
13:00. Ate a Tesco sandwich and crisps. You’d messaged me. Feels like we’re getting used to this. I listened to the Budget on the radio. “Seems reasonable.” I messaged you. Everything is opposite to what it was. A world upside down. No one to be trusted. Few are. It’s how it is. You’ve been burdened again. It’s how it is.
The pensioners had taken over the library. Indoor bowls. I knew one. She’d changed a lot in a few months. Not for the better. My mother hadn’t let the carer in. “It was a big fat woman.” she said. “Wanted to check my medicine. I told her to piss off.”
17:25. And so it goes. She’s fed now. Meds taken. I spoke with the care company. Left a message with the mental health team. It’s enough for today. You’ve left the office with your burden. No more WIFI till tomorrow. Thirty-seven degrees and humid. I'm in the library café. It’s raining here, too. Someone tells his mates he's got coronavirus. Best head to the seminar, via the toilet.
Life clings on in a northern town.