STALLED

It’s raining and here in the café the windows are beginning to mist. The fluorescent light from the shops opposite is less harsh and it’s all a bit blurred out there.

In the corner, close to the glass, two women are sitting and talking. The tone is conspiratorial and their voices are indistinguishable. Only when I look across at them can I tell which is actually speaking. They look alike, have the same black hair and glasses.

Their conversation is too complex for a casual eavesdropper to interpret and I stop hearing the words and just listen to the murmur of their voices. It’s a little like radio static but not from some tinny transistor. This interference is deep and monotonous. I watch as they lean in close, their faces rapt in the rainy glare.

Across the parade a group of drinkers has gathered. They are sheltering under the canopy with their cans of super strength lager. From where I sit, they appear lumpen, slow moving as if the air is heavy and dense.

The women are still talking and I stifle a yawn. Their impenetrable chatter is a lullaby of sorts and I could easily drift off. But two of the drinkers are now shoving each other and flailing they move away from the rest of the group, stumbling out into the rain.

At an arms length from each other they move in a not so stately dance. It’s funny but I don’t laugh. One of them has a bloody nose and he lunges at the other, and together they tumble against the plate glass.

The women look up at last as their conversation is brought to an abrupt halt and the disruption is complete.

 

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