I force my eyes open and the blurry yellow shape of a daffodil comes into focus. I concentrate on the phone screen, and slowly the pain dispels. I stand inside this telephone box and want to hang on for another few minutes. The weather is mean today and I wipe the hot tears, then I straighten up and keep walking. •
You’ve never picked up the phone.
I take off my black cardigan and tie it around my waist, before forcibly concentrating on slowing my pace to a wander.
I’ve left the UK for some time. Being in strange cities often reminds me of your beauty in the strangest of places, even in the face of another. I have a voice - that is what keeps me going. I mooch about my surroundings often after my talks, where I sometimes am struck by how breathtakingly beautiful it is here. Until now, I’ve felt too deadened inside to appreciate it. •
A female jogger in purple shorts and a matching vest heads in my direction. I naturally avert my gaze as she passes. Up ahead a man walks his dog. I try not to look away and, sure enough, he nods and smiles at me. The corresponding friendliness of those strangers feels oddly like a reward. •
A cloud momentarily passes over the sun and the water ripples beneath a cool breeze. I sit down on the bench by the telephone box - it’s been a while. I lean forward on my elbows with the book in my hands and just let myself be for a while - I keep staring at this telephone box and remember that was in the height of summer when we started. •
A pang goes through me - we also sat here and heard their raucous laughter travelling down the river towards us. ___________________________________________________________________
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