Certain people have been visiting my shop for a long time. Nothing will stop them now. In my final days I have had to keep the door locked, and we all stare at each other through the glass. This morning, an old lady came by with her daughter. They were both young once. Now they are themselves. The mother loomed up to the door, looking for me. Her daughter said, ‘She’s not there, mum’. Her mother said, ‘She is. She’s right there.’
And I am there. I come to the door, and we all stare. On the mother’s face, joy blooms.
‘I told you. She’s there.’
I call through the glass, ‘Hello”.
They are delighted.
I call, ‘Did you want a book?’
They both nod. But I know they don’t. (Their gift to me).
I say, ‘I’ve no books left, go away.’
They laugh, delighted.
‘That’s not true.’
The daughter pulls her mother back.
The mother, who is kind, is also powerful. Wealthy in the new ancient currency. Kindness.
She looms up to the glass, simple, worried, looking for me.
‘Catch you in better times’, she shouts.
The whole empty aching street, turns, listens.
Written for the both of you who will never know what your visit meant to me.