A Canteen Man

Her eyes are fixed on a computer screen. She is reading. Her big, blue eyes surrounded by eyelashes thick and heavy with mascara.  On her ears headphones; hands on a keyboard. She is thinking. Something is not right! Sign of impatience on her face; hand on forehead. ‘Gosh! How shall I write it?’…

Next, there is a cheerful young girl. She sits at the end of a table with a phone in her hand. Now she puts it down and picks up a packet of crisps. She gesticulates while chatting to a dark-skinned girl who is sitting opposite. They laugh and giggle, while engaged in their chat.

By them runs a girl with long hair.  She asks if a chair is free then grabs it. She takes it back with her and joins a group of students who are seating at a long table full of bottles, open bags and cartons. A girl in glasses peels an orange.

There is a boy there too. He enjoys the attention he gets. His smile is mysterious, with his eyes watching for reactions to his words. He is keen to persuade. All the girls are now looking at him….

It is a square room with a big bed in the middle. I left my room tidy this morning, with everything in its place. When I looked through a window I could see a car parked and a few small houses opposite. One or two people were passing. This street is usually quiet. It runs next to a main road with rows of small houses on each side.

But then, just as I was leaving, the door to a one of the houses is opened and a young boy rushes out. There was something familiar about him so, I looked carefully and now I recognise the boy from the canteen. Yes, it was him! He looked as if he was in a hurry as he didn’t shut the door behind him. Through the door followed a young woman, her hair untidy. She was rushing too. She had her slippers on her feet and wore white shorts and an orange top. She held a phone in her left hand… What is going on?

The girl is crying. She is shouting something to the boy. He stops, turns towards her and shouts something back. They are having an argument. But look; A smart red car pulls up in front of the house and a middle-aged man gets out. He quickly approaches the boy, takes him by the collar and pulls him towards the car. Stunned at seeing the man, the boy resigns and walks a few steps to the car before taking a seat inside. The man closes the car door, goes to the other side, gets in and drives off.

This woman is left behind, standing in the street in her slippers with tears on her face. She looks shocked now. The wind blows through her long, red, curly hair throwing some over her face. She stands like this for few minutes then turns and goes back through the house door closing it slowly behind her…

Now a man with a dog walks down the road and a car slowly drives by. The wind gently moves leaves on the trees. It is quiet again on my street so I leave my room.

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