Orange sparks skittering across wet pavement. A couple jumping out of the way of the drill, huddling together.
‘I want to buy it.’
‘You bloody well should!’
Mirrors embellished with gold. Pale green tea menus. A rainbow of boxed macarons. Pink lemonade popping on the tongue.
Flat glass face of the Forum. Opposite, the blackened sandstone cathedral rises, its spires haunting the white sky.
Umbrella arms snapping, straightening back out. Rain patters on the umbrella’s stretched skin.
‘I don’t like him anymore … I don’t know what he had.’
Wrinkled face, wet cigarette sagging from creased pink lips. Hair poking out from around a beanie.
‘Oh God, Jesus … Christ, no, oh God.’
Hands patting empty pockets.
Hooded girl bouncing by, chubby smiling face and shining eyes.
Van roaring by, tires sliding against asphalt. Boots slapping puddles.
Scaffolding constricting a bell tower, clock face with hands on the wrong time.
Bronze angel unsheathing her sword, wings fanning out above the tops of passing busses.
‘Oh, shut up! … I don’t know, I thought it was just Jessica and Muriel. I don’t get the bitching … Right, I’ve got it.’
Girl in black holding herself. Gold hair streaked with toned silver.
Pink concrete wall, black paint: THEY CLEAN THESE WALLS AND STREETS.
Inside a heart: LOVE GENTRIFICATION.
‘We broke into the shed … I jimmied the lock and Mum got a plank of wood and punched—smashed in the door … Then she started cryin, sayin, like “oh, I’ve never had feelins like this before” and shit, and he was jus like “yep, yep” and then he started cryin and leadin ‘er on like “babe, I love you, I’ll nevah leave ya, babe” but, like, he was leading her on, like why callah “babe” if ya not gonna be with her? …
Like it’s just somethin ya have to get over, y’know? Like he was sayin that he only married Mum coz he fell in love wif ‘ah but he wouldn’t have married ‘ah if Tracey hadn’t have died. Tracey’s been dead for six years now, and he’s been wif Mum for five, and Tracey dying is jus somethin he has to get over. Like, my Mum is gonna die one day, I’ll get over it … He was sayin “oh, maybe I’m havin a mid-life crisis”.’
‘Like if Danny did that, if Danny cheats on me again, nup, that’s it, he’s packin and gettin out … But I will get it one day, I will get my revenge.’
The clatter of bottles on the bus floor. A laugh like a whimpering dog. Two women swagger to the front of the bus and hop off, grocery bags flapping in the wind.