any day

‘You cannot distinguish development from the clothes. That’s why they all wear jeans and Nike trainers.  You’ve seen that on the television, surely? Long hair, jeans and those trainers. That’s the revolution. That’s Freedom. That’s all they know.’

‘So I came back here, after thirty odd years of defending my nation, and gave up the passport. I didn’t recognise my people any more. That was not my country. All that humiliation.’

‘It is so difficult to discuss this here. People do not understand. If you say this, they think you are that, oh, that, what is the word? fundamental, yes, or is it another? But you see me! No veil, no long dress. But why the jeans? Why the myopia of our young? The lack of imagination.’

*

‘She makes so much noise, we’ve worked out that if you just give her a bit more food she shuts up.’

‘You’re feeding her here and next door?’

‘Well. Only her. Not the others. She’s so noisy, so demanding. Just a little bit.’

‘And is that your shed out there? That shed?’

‘That’s for the white one, yes. Got nowhere to go so we made it. The other one doesn’t need a shed. She just sits under the bush.’

*

I was so sure it was the post office. They even had the weighing scales. People were queuing as normal, that really long queue all the way back to the birthday banners and cards. There were three young mothers and a baby in a push-chair. All the sorts of things you’d expect to see. But there was something not quite right. So when it got to my turn, I took my parcel out ready to be weighed to help speed the process up, and I went to the counter, and the man looked up at me, and . . . well . . . he asked me when I wanted to go. When do you want to go? he said. What? I said. You know, he said, the date for, you know, the final date. Have you chosen the date? Well, I didn’t know what to think so I said, I’d like it to arrive before Friday if possible. And he turned to the woman next to him and laughed. Then he turned back to me and said, You dear: we want to know your final date. I felt terrible, like everyone was looking at me. I was melting, hot and sticky like everyone knew I didn’t know what he was talking about – even the people at the end of the queue. I had tears in my eyes. And still he said, Look it’s often hard for people. They don’t all know if they’re doing the right thing. It’s ok. It’s normal. But if you’ve got this far it normally means you’re serious. Why not pick you favourite day of the week? Well, that seemed like a good idea. So I said, Monday please. I’ll take Monday.

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