three encounters.



I’ll never see you again, he says suddenly, strangely, but also not-strange, in that not-strange way you can manage if it is nighttime and you are in a pub and you are the only two people using the shared sink outside the toilets.

That is probably true, I say quickly. I’m drying my hands on those sort of towel racks with the big loop, the kind you pull down and that suck up the used, wet part. I don’t understand these towel racks. They are usually broken. This one is not broken. He comes and stands next to me and leans against the wall.

Someday I’ll get to New York, he says thoughtfully. Like he might, but probably won’t.

Yeah, well—hey. Have a good life, I say. And he laughs at this. He holds the door for me when we leave.


You don’t tip, she says under her breath. You never tip here. Or at a bar. Just at restaurants, like. Oh—and hair salons.

Before she leaves, she compliments the color of my nails and then touches my hair and bemoans her own decision to bleach hers, years ago—she is still paying for that one, she says, and she shakes her roots at me—dry, damaged, split.


He points to his friend as I pass, he shakes his head, he laughs apologetically. Just ignore him, eh? He’s a right vermin, he says. I’ve missed something but I smile, and then he smiles, and then he pushes his friend and keeps smiling and smiles still as they disappear around the corner, leaving me confusing but fine and fumbling for my keys.

photograph taken with a canon t1i and L-series 24-105 f/4 lens – cupcakes in a window display in Edinburgh


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