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15 minute write
‘She’s got a plant pot on her head’
‘A plant pot’
‘What do you mean? What are you talking about’
He was pointing. Rude, he knew, but in this crowd how else could you identify someone - although to him, it seemed pretty obvious - she had a plant pot on her head.
Her eyes focused on an elderly lady dressed in purple, slacks, coat, even her Zimmer frame was powder coated purple. On her head sat a regular plastic orange plant pot - looking almost like a Fez, but clearly not a fez.
‘ She could have chosen a purple one, surely?' Was her only reply
They were standing in a bar which was busy. This was quite novel after the 18 months of lockdown they had just come out of. You still felt odd being close to people. Amongst people. They were meeting for two birthdays. Neither of which were today - in fact they weren’t even this month - retrospective birthdays were the thing now. In fact, anything was the thing now - any chance to get out - to not be home - to be in a bar or a pub or somewhere that had been closed for so long. They were celebrating two big ones - a 40th and a 50th, and already the shots were flowing. They were waiting for a long bench table to be cleared - there were around twenty of them altogether of all ages, united, simply, in the need to be social again.
He had almost forgotten how. What do you talk about now that the emergency is over, now that we are out of Europe, now that we are considering re-entering. You would think people were broke, but, unlike the country, most of us survived. He was clearly looking distracted so to bring him back to the here and now, she spoke:
‘Do you come here often?’ she whispered into his ear.
‘Very funny, very droll, I wish I had been’
‘But then think of all the weight you’d have put on - my trim little beast’
‘Being skinny, through a lack of the basic food types, isn’t what I’d call a great diet’
‘No, but the end results ….’
The woman with the plant pot was back. Next to him,
‘Oh be a darling would you, and try and get me a glass of water, I’ve such a tickly throat and I can’t wait in that stupid queue. I think if you ask, they might notice you, you’re so lovely and tall - you can tell them it’s for me, and maybe they’ll take sympathy on me?’
Her voice was surprisingly clear and had a French accent. Perhaps, he thought, that is the reason for the high fashion hat?
‘Of course’, he wondered whether that had come out in a French accent - he did that sometimes, unintentionally, when someone had a heavy accent, he could help but parody it.
‘Oh, and I love your hat’ his eyes moved to the plant pot.
‘Oh, thank you my dear’ she instinctively reached her bony hand up to touch it when
‘Oh merde. I’ve bloody done it again, what a daft mare I am becoming’ She pulled the plant pot off her head.
‘I get confused sometimes. Not confused, I suppose, I guess I just don’t pay attention. I have a hat exactly like this one - but obviously not a plant pot - and it’s purple. I find it hard to tell colours now.’
‘Well if it’s any consolation, I did wonder whether it was a plant pot - and I guess by wondering it made me think that, perhaps, it was actually high couture’
‘Oh, I like you young man, you’re my type. Now order me some water please, I’m parched’
He looked over to where the waitress was clearing the table. She was around 20, lithe, pretty, hair dark, thick, tied casually up and held there with a pencil.
She looked at him with contempt and scorn at being interrupted.
‘My friend with the plant pot hat would really appreciate a glass of water when you have a moment, she is suffering terribly with a sore throat’
Photo: Cornwall 2011, Yashica Mat 124G | Kodak Ektar 100
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