The walkers, they walk past my shop. The door is closed, it’s dark inside, but I am here, working away, listening. Nobody can come in; the door is locked. But out there, on the little path, people pass by, still breathing.
‘And that was fine.’
The friend, nodding, ‘Yes. Yes.’
‘And then, after all of that…’
‘Yeah, I know. But she still didn’t say anything…’
‘Get in, I’ll hand you your stuff.’ There is a man balancing paper bags of hot food next to the car. She climbs into the car, sits in the front seat. Her hand reaches out, waiting for the paper bag of hot pies, waiting for too long. She’s looking at her phone, waving her hand about, waiting. He takes too long, he is looking at a motorbike across the road. She looks up, and says, ‘My God!’
The silent prams buzz past. Swift glance in, keep going. Things to do.
One man calling back to another man. ‘I wonder if they still sell kitchener buns, and you know…mint slice.’
‘You’re not allowed to have mint slice.’
‘No, it’s alright now.’
Somebody talking loudly into their phone. ‘And even if they took your temperature….’
‘Na, he hasn’t got anything, na, no, he’s a moron anyway,’
‘Are they open?’ Faces at the window, looking in, frowning.
‘Hang on to me Dee, this perishing corner.’ People trying to cross the road. Carrying strong handbags.
‘You’re getting too close, do you need to do that? Don’t get quite so close. What are you looking at.’ A father to his young son.
‘I can’t read it. It’s too far away.’
‘Oh, Oh, yes I understand.’
A man breathing heavily. Placing paper bags in the back of his ute. Breathless, lighting a cigarette, leaning there, looking out over the apologetic world. Looking over the road at the closed art gallery and the closed information centre. Looks down at the road. Climbs into his car. Remembers his lunch and climbs back out again.
‘She’s closed! Yep! Fucking knew it!’ Young people, caring fiercely.
A customer, an old man, passing slowly, looks in straight at me. Nods. Yes.