(Who Doesn’t Keep a Diary)
8th of August – Stranger Shelter
The lightning and thunder were overlapping, but I needed a carton of milk. So now I’m standing, in a dress and boots without socks, watching the streets get washed by falling clouds, huddled under the canopy outside Tesco, with twenty or so strangers. Across from us, a small flock of pigeons seek shelter on a windowsill too. A youngish couple crack the seal of a wine bottle, and he pulls out two plastic cups. The red almost spills as they clunk them together. They sip to stain their teeth, pretending that a drowning Sauchiehall Street is the Seine.
10th August I – Word Building in Italian
I’m finishing my drink, when I notice the man sitting next to me is reading. His flat cap and walking stick are set upon the square table, and a pigeon pecks at the drying leaves about his feet. Swaying to the left side of my seat, I seek to discreetly see what the book is; the page is titled “Word Building in Italian.” I like to think he’s learning to impress a new beau he met at the grocery store, or perhaps he’s going to visit his daughter and her family in Verona. They moved there in the summer of 2019, and he hasn’t seen or held them since. Or maybe he doesn’t want to sound like an eejit next time he goes to the Italian round the corner.
10th August II – The Cafe Hopper
This decaf tea tastes shit.
But I reckon my brain would fall out of my eyes, and my skeleton would shudder til it shatters, if I drink anymore caffeine.
And I need to stay in this cafe for the free wifi and company.
So piss coloured, boiled dish water it is.
11th August – Peachy
The sweetness of the peach is enough to make me bite my cheeks, and ice clanks against my teeth – like a suitcase over a drain. I’m sipping away at sugary tea, on day number something, of silence in the rain.
16th August I – My Telltale Mug
This woman has a very annoying ringtone, and someone won’t stop calling her. The bookshop staff seem unaffected, but then again they’re paid not to care. I, on the other hand, never lasted longer than four months in customer service, what with my inability to not mutter unfiltered thoughts , or at the very least paint them all over my face.
Before, I often thought I held quite an impressive mask of neutrality. That was until I attended classes on Zoom, and I came to understand why sometimes people think I’m a bit of a bitch. My friend and I took to drinking our tea from incredibly large mugs. Whenever an ignorant or irritating comment was made, we would take a sip to hide our faces, only just peering over the rim to catch the other’s eye across the call. Maybe we’re mean, maybe we’re really bad people, but I think it’s better than what I just did.
Which was whisper “Fuckin hell,” under my breath to the shelves of books in the shop. The woman next to me definitely heard. Yeah, this is definitely worse.
16th August II – Adjustments
Two ladies are chattering across from me. One is holding the other’s sewing pattern, explaining, in quite an impassioned manner, how the interfacing and facing need to be laid together in order for the dress to hang properly. The other seems to understand, and takes the crumpled paper to crumple it further in her bulging handbag. They pick up identical mugs, and speak over the steam. It just seems entirely nice, which is lovely.
In my notebook I drew a vine, an eye, and an ear.
And I wrote:
“I am safe .
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10”
I put my pen back in my book, and my book in my bag. I put my jacket on, and I left.
I’m crying at an ATM so I can have my back to the crowd and not seem strange. It doesn’t feel sad. It feels like my body is simply doing what it must, and I no longer want to fight it on that. Body knows best.
I really should check my postbox for that letter from the psychiatrist.
Kate Bradley is a poet and performance artist. They are messy and melodramatic, as is their artwork, exploding moments into millenia, whispered thoughts into winding tales, strangers into the closest of friends. More importantly, they love sharks, Star Wars and salted caramel. At their core, they are simply a queer tree-hugger with an undying love for tea. If you would like to listen to what they have to say, feel free to stick around, and follow them on Instagram @createbradley