Theme: Extravagant

Our monthly themes for the site are December Extravagant, and January Uniform Please contact us if you would like to put forward ideas for articles. For more information please visit us here. Enjoy and be inspired!

.Late Night Montage

Illustration by Bee Davies
Illustration by Bee Davies.

It’s winter-dark. I am hungry. I see a market stall laden with hundreds of pieces of fruit. I take an apple. I am pleased that near its base is a small oval bruise. This apple could well have been a reject apple.

I am tired.

The centre doors of a bendy bus swish open in front of me; school kids, neatly uniformed, tumble out. There are lots of empty seats. I get on. I don’t swipe an Oyster Card. To tell you the truth I don’t have an Oyster Card. I am penniless otherwise I wouldn’t have swiped the apple. I sit in the warmth and wish I were upstairs on a double-decker where the view is better. Then I chide myself for being ungrateful.

The bus becomes crowded. A woman glares at me so I raise my right eyebrow; I am not without talent, just undeserving. I notice her baggy yellowing tights and her swollen ankles and vacate my seat. As I shuffle and bump past her the purse protruding from her satchel falls into my pocket.

I leave the bus. The purse contains £7.26, four plastic cards and a family snapshot. Then I see a donor card and a cellophane wrapped lock of grey hair. I deduce she’s a sentimental woman who owns a Co-Operative Society credit card. Coincidentally, I have alighted outside a branch of a Co-op Bank so, feeling unusually mellow, I post all but the cash through its letterbox.

I am glad that the sum of money is small. Enough to sit inside a cheap burger place and legitimately use the facilities just for customers. I eat warm food and wash in warm water and use soft toilet paper. I don’t leave a tip.

Maybe Oxfam will have shoes for £3.27 in the morning. Now, though, as I leave the café to start the long walking wait for dawn, I eat the apple slowly, making it last. The bruised bit is the sweetest.

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