Pounding the pavement


I sat there, bum perched upon the just-about-enough-space area of the bathed-in-sunlight plinth, phone held (slightly-awkwardly) as if I were watching something upon its screen (rather than listening, yet again, to a StartUp episode, ears addicted to the telling of a dating company's efforts to get off the ground), arms bent at the elbow, held in a not-quite-comfortable ('don't worry, you won't be there for too long') position, fingers framing the four sides, one poised to tap.

As the first pair of feet strode their way into the shot, I freeze-framed their action. Black suede-looking ankle boots, legs clad in (it's that time of year again) tights, the can-just-about-be-seen peek of swing coat, inch or so of (ooo, I like that) dress, and throw everything into it bag sneaking into the shot. And then, another singular pair. More black. This time, blue dress. A line of a (where did that come from?) shadow. Machinery. Large, green-splashed wheels. Trainers. A bicycle.

I pondered their (of which I knew nothing about) stories. The pairs of feet, like my own, that walked without step-matched companion....were they taking in a lunch break? How had the day been thus far? Had time raced like fine-grained sand through their fingertips, prompting an 'already?', or had they been left feeling harassed by the slippage, determined to get out and get back, to get on? Had it dragged, maybe, leaving tiny made-by-fingernails trenches etched into the palms of their hands, tight shoulders scrunched around their ears? Had they smiled yet, or laughed? Felt the rush of air leave their lungs in a chug-chugging of music-to-my-ears sound? Or, had silence swallowed them whole, chewing at the bits that made them them, and leaving soft tatters of every-day-thinned skin in their wake?

The groups, pairs of feet striding (some most purposefully)...were they out for the day? Enjoying time together after a-fair-while without? Catching up on hours whizzed by after days, weeks, months? Or, had they an appointment to make? A meeting-with-others to reach, coffee to get, and sandwiches to stuff in before a purposeful, 'we've stuff to do!' afternoon ahead? Did conversation flow, or trip over the placed-before-them obstacles, words tersely slipping out between the slight-gaps of clenched teeth? The bags, were they full? Of stuff thrown in and the lint-y remnants of what had been? Of paper-made, with new things to for-pleasure wear, or need-to-get necessities? The fist-looking hands, did they hold phones? Were their ears, too, plugged in? Had they lost sense of their surroundings...eyes muted to the every day unfolding beyond sight?

Then...

Three ladies, shuffling to the beat of their time-is-their-own drum, mumbling chit-chat as they walked by, one catching my eye with an of-clout quizzical, 'what're you doing?' gaze heavy enough to have me closing up shop, focus shifting back to 'is that the time?' present, my own two, heavily scuffed feet dragging me up and off, once more.

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