Yesterday there was a couple at the front window. They were unusual because they stayed there for so long. I could hear them. They couldn’t see me. They wore sensible caps, and shoes made for long walks in the evening. They each had a shoulder bag and a water bottle. And good sunglasses, too – this is why they had to peer through the glass to get at the titles.
They screwed up their eyes and read the titles out loud, slowly, and very seriously.
‘I reckon you’d enjoy that one, Trevor.’
‘Not with my reading I won’t.’
‘I think you would. It says please come in, there on the door. What do you reckon that means?’
‘Means come in.’
‘Come on then.’
‘Look at this. Is that Leonardo Da Vinci?’
‘History is it?’
They leaned in with difficulty. They made the shape of difficulty with their mouths, and their eyes and foreheads agreed in thin lines.
‘That’s not Leonardo Da Vinci.’
‘Well. Who is it then?’
‘Some chap. Could be anyone. Let’s go in. You never know.’
‘Don’t know if I can be bothered. Looks expensive.’
‘Well, have it your way. Let’s get a bun round the corner there.’
And they left.
Leonardo Da Vinci watched them go; a nice hardback, dustcover in good condition, tight kidneys, no sciatica in the spine, born out of wedlock, never went to school. A master in the guild. Buying caged birds and releasing them. Coming up with the Mona Lisa. He watched them go.