Mark offered to pick Martha up from the office.
‘I’ll be there at six,’ Mark confidently predicted.
But he put the wrong postcode into his satnav and turned up twenty minutes late.
‘You are a complete waste of both space and time,’ Martha ranted at him when he finally arrived.
They construct the wall and appoint fierce guards at each checkpoint. How impressive they all look!
Until, that is, they notice the clouds gliding irreverently above their heads and the determined ants crawling up and over the wall each night.
Even tiny birds flout the fiercely defended border with impunity.
Albert accidentally brushes against a man in the corridor.
‘For goodness’ sake,’ the man complains, tutting loudly at Albert and giving him a cold stare.
And Albert realises something he should have worked out years ago: sometimes offence is something you actively have to take. It doesn’t just arrive, unbidden.
We took our telescope up the hill: his mother had died not long before and it was something to do.
After the coldest hour of searching we finally found it – Saturn with all its rings!
“See!” I wanted to shout, “perhaps things might be ringed in surprising ways after all.”
We met too locally.
Had we met on a distant planet we’d have so much still to recall.
The press of sunshine on your face – remember that? The hiss and shush of waves through shingle?
I’d sneak you a chocolate bar from the mother planet.
And you’d smile your smile.
The policeman wanted more detail.
“You sure there’s nothing else you can tell me about the man’s appearance?”
“Well,” Albert said, “he had the kind of face that implied things hadn’t always worked out well for him: defeated yet somehow stoical.”
The policeman sighed and gave him a despairing look.
Through some cunning ‘look but don’t touch’ arrangements I can pretty much track down any music or writing in the known universe. Now, finally, I can get exactly what I want when I want. No more compromises are required.
So why can I no longer finish any book I’ve started?