ND is sat on a bench outside Saint Augustine’s, just as he was when I last saw him last, nearly ten years ago. It’s as if he hasn’t moved. This time though it is a bright May morning and not a wet October evening. This time though I don’t walk past, but join him there outside that church in the dappled silence. I want to tell him that I’m sorry, but he stops me with his palm, on which, in biro, there is written an invitation to a dancehall in an unknown venue; dated some time in the future, and curated by himself. By his feet there is the quarter vodka bottle peeking from the paper bag. This time though, he is smiling.
IW on the low-tide rocks beyond the broken lido, at the far end of the Longsands. She crouches every now and then to pick up little washed-up objects hidden there and puts them in her red coat pockets. The wind blows through her hair and the seagulls wheel above her. Later, she spreads her findings on the duvet cover – a collection of shells and stones and bits of broken crockery – creating a mosaic.
PA, cocksure as ever, struts up and down the underpass beneath the Whitgift Centre. He wears leather trousers and a bandana. The backdoors of the shops are open and he marches up to each one, looking in and shouting nonsense. His laughter and his heavy footsteps echo off the concrete.