Boulevard (For my son).
The boulevard of broken dreams begins at the end of a snicket, with a shop selling guilt and poverty. Where, mostly men, scratch thin blue lines from short thin blue pens in short hopes of riches. Few walk out with happy visage.
Next an unsmiling heavily built, overly sweaty Armenian take away managers’ tattered emporiam. He exploits youngsters for their honest toil with pennies and always needs new till fodder.
The road leads past John, the always smiling and genuinely helpful motorist supplies shop. Some times he’s outside having a smoke, loose wrapped broken leaves of tobacco his face drawing in by the cheeks as he inhales. With a black curly bundle hidden behind huge brown eyes, and a friendly tongue lounging alongside him, his dog,companions in life, you can tell, its the easy comfort that flows between them. I recognise the closeness, the contentment of living things in harmony. “Hey up”. “Not a bad day” in return.
But past John as he fiddles with another helpless motorists headlights, he really is too kind and a sucker for the batted eye lashes of a lone woman who’s car really is “such a mystery”, and “whatever would I do….” And “Thank you John they don’t make gentlemen like you any more…” But he has a happiness to envy. Living his own life, his own world.
Past him is the bottle store, the off license, seller of wines and liqueurs. Louise the Romanian woman. Who arrived here seven years ago and lived near David and I when she first arrived. English husband, she could barely speak English in public then, now holds her H’s like a local. Ull, Ell and Alifax. She has a beautiful little boy now. Feel close as we welcomed her when she’d just arrived and showed her she had no need to fear the twisted animosity of some minute minds here. Lives intertwined, she had such lovely smiles and words for David and I when we went in to stock up the fridge for another… “Dad, my mates are coming round tonight”.
Later she’d soak my shoulder with salted tears of pity and sorrow, but that was to come.
We’d browse the fridges, David looking for something, a new fruit flavoured cider, a case of Perone. Case of Bud’. Or the beer with the tangy fruit added, so refreshing in summer. He said. I’m proud, and its cool to do ‘man stuff’ together.
We had no idea then of the sickness building within….
I’ve got Bailey’s, a bottle of milk… skinny, and some ice. Try it!
I look forward to the night, listening to their banter, laughter, the “jamming”, all his mates are good sound people. Young men and women. Looking forward to taking the world on. Loved and lost.