The sun is warm now, the water of the river undisturbed. Seagulls teeter on the parapet in front of her, boats go by. The line of trees that breaks the monotony of the pavement is laden with leaves in shades of russet. Figures stride purposefully on a distant bridge, figures in miniature, creatures that could be unreal. Somewhere a voice is loud on a megaphone.
She is not hungry. It will be a few hours before she begins to feel hungry and then there will be the throwaway stuff in the bins. The sky is azure, evenly blue, hardly faded at the edges at all. She moves a hand back and forth on a slat of the seat she is sitting on, her fingers caressing the smooth timber, the texture different where the paint has worn away.
The gap left where a tooth was drawn a fortnight ago has lost its soreness. She feels it with her tongue, pressing the tip of her tongue into the cavity, recalling the aching there has been. It was the Welshman, Davo, who said that. They went along together because he knew the way, “Not many would bother with your toothache,” Davo said. Not many would think toothache would occur in a derelict’s mouth.” You can always come back,” the woman dentist said. “Don’t be in pain.”
The woman dentist has dedicated her existence to the rotten teeth of derelicts, to derelicts’ odour and filth. Her goodness is a great mystery.
She turns her hands so that the sun may catch them differently, and slightly lifts her head to warm the other side of her face.