It’s late. The air is chilly and the wind blows. My muscles shiver at the contact and my skin erupts with a continuous stream of goose bumps; my hair also stands to attention, although it doesn’t last long with the sun being so strong, even in the lateness of the day. I have my glasses on, the ones that block the sun from burning my retinas. They have three main purposes: the first has already been mentioned, the second is so I can rest my tired eyes and the third is so I can observe people from the privacy the shades allow.

I am waiting for the rest to come. They take forever. One has arrived, he stands beside me. There is no need to talk, he knows exactly how I’m feeling. Even if we did start talking, it wouldn’t be appropriate as it would be about whom we’re waiting for. Someone walks out and she smiles at us, sighs as she puts her bag down, and retrieves the cigarettes from her bag. She lights up and fouls the fresh air with chemical-enhanced smoke. She says about the day and I reply with something trivial. And that’s it. Our conversation already dried up.

The door rolls open and another joins our cluster. This one thinks she’s funny — she’s not. I let her words wash over me, I even manage a small smile, a choked laugh as well. I say something, small, irrelevant, unimportant, to keep her going. I don’t want to talk and am more than relieved that she talks enough for all of us. I shiver as the wind blows again.

Another workmate bursts forth. She is laughing, forever laughing. She is happy and I shouldn’t scorn her for that, but I am not in the mood for her glee. Hers or the rest of them. They’re the parrots, not me. I am released from duty.

The others file out of the door, one after the other until we all stand huddled. I reach up my hand, ready for the descending roller door. I am, it turns out, the only one who can pull it down to the bottom without effort. They always look on in amazement when I do, stunned that someone could have that much power in such a small frame. The wind blows.

We move away as one, starting the long trek to our cars. I do not speak, I only move; one foot in front of the other is all I can manage. If I utter one more word I may fall over from exhaustion. I am so tired that I lean into the gusting wind.

We’ve got halfway across the carpark when people start to drop off, their cars a shorter distance away than the rest of us. Mostly it comes down to bone laziness, but that’s not my problem. They’re the ones who risk a fine every day, not my prob. Soon it’s only two of us left. Me and him. We continue across the bitumen surface, avoiding the cracks and broken rubble until we reach the normally busy street. It’s quiet for the moment, almost no traffic, and we cross over to the painted island in the middle of the road. A few cars go past then an opening reveals itself. It’s not very big, but we can make it if we’re fast enough. The wind blows at our backs and I gather some energy. I go, but he hesitates. I just make it while he waits for another gap. We start walking again when he joins me.

“That car almost hit you,” he grins. I shrug and we continue on, entering the tunnel below the train line, our footsteps echoing off the bricks. I wish it did, I think. The wind blows.

by Amanda Mill

 

Image: ‘empty parking lot‘ by Radcliffe Dacanay CC 2.0