Got to work this morning and there’s a new cleaner. Wide like her trolley but with a smile to match my own. Five seconds chat as she navigates out of one doorway and into another, past the door I was holding for her.
My mum was a cleaner and this leaves me feeling particularly empathetic towards this breed. My chatter was warm and friendly stuff about how cold the day was. This was when I noticed, out of the windows that splashed the wall with light, that an entire building was emptying itself into the street across the way.
The structure housed students and, on seeing the young things streaming out in their dressing gowns and onesies, I said to the cleaner (I’ll find her name later – promise) ‘Those poor dears, dragged out into the light of day as early as 9am when I’m sure they’re used to sleeping until midday.’ She laughed and agreed, and on that note we parted ways.
The heating wasn’t working in the office that morning and so I was glad of the extra layer my jumper provided. It was orangey-brown, just like the coat that my grandma insisted on buying for me when I was seventeen. The same one that I was proud to wear outside of school, but that I stuffed into the locker as soon as arrived, obscurely ashamed and embarrassed to be wearing something so like a peacock’s attire.
Would I be proud to wear it now? Would I even strut my stuff up and down those educational corridors if I had known then what I know now? Maybe. Or maybe not. Being noticed is not the be all and end all of life. Sometimes, just sometimes – blending in is the highest form of magic.
This from the man sat on a bed covered by a sunshine inspired, autumn tinged bedspread, wearing Levis that cling to my legs like sugar on a doughnut, drinking a tea redolent of liquorice and peppermint whilst breathing in the vanilla scented air provided by a candle the colour of love and sporting a deeply coloured t-shirt advertising the city of Los Angeles.