I’m sitting by a window with the sun pouring in. The sky beyond the clouds is a perfect blue.
Funny, I drove here in the pouring rain and now feel overdressed in my “woolly pully”.
“Woolly Pully” now there’s a phrase I’ve not heard for a while, plucked from the deep recesses of my brain. A favourite of Andrew’s in his fair isle sweater days.
I’ve just had to ask for my tea, waitress service but I spied my tray sitting on the counter a while ago. The milk jug doesn’t pour well and the pot sits sullenly in a dribble of tea.
I casually wonder if I could be a mystery shopper. I would happily type up a report – not especially favourable so far, although the caramel shortbread is delicious and I don’t want to sour my day.
This isn’t exactly a pilgrimage but I vividly remember both times I’ve been here before.
The first was a rare day out with Andrew and the boys. I like revisiting the places we have walked together, knowing I am standing on the spot he might have stood. Locations where I still hear a lingering laugh are so few.
My second visit, like my third, was on my own but with more purpose. A writing day chasing dreams that sometimes seem so distant. Perhaps I should buy a card from the gift shop, one with affirming words reminding me to never give up.
So here I sit dreaming, remembering, writing like a proper writer!
People watching too I must confess.
That young lad over there looks bored, his mum so busy chatting to her friend. I haven’t seen her look or talk to him even once. What memories will he take away from here?
And there was that harassed mum in the gift shop.
“They’re not bouncy balls.” Her voice agitated as she retrieves the marbles from her son’s hand before he can do damage.
I have to laugh and share that empathetic mother-to-mother look, but she doesn’t seem amused.
Why is it the mothers that immediately catch my eye?
No wait, there’s a dad outside now running with his young son. I can see Andrew so clearly in the moment.
Families and their happy days, in the place where we once stood.
Now I spy an older couple arm in arm. Just ordinary life passing by.
It should have been me. Should have been my future.
Now I feel like the observer, watching others but never fully engaged. A half me unnoticed by a world wrapped up in other people.
My tea’s all gone and I have no reason left to linger, so I’ll take off with my thoughts, lost in my own memories.