This week I am doing filming and interviews for work – the way that people stop to talk, make me laugh, shield their eyes against the sun. The sun is burning the skin on my shoulders and the light on the water of the canal is hot silver white. The face of the man I interview, water swimming in his eyes, the sound of his home in his voice.
One lunch I meet Ruth – down from Newcastle for work and representing her firm at the Royal Courts. She is sitting on the steps of St Paul’s when I find her, sunshine and shadow, the cut of her hair, professional and gorgeous. We sit in the square with our skirts tucked up around our knees, and she tells me about a weekend away with our friends. She makes me laugh and I miss her as soon as we have to leave each other.
That night, on a terrace in the south, early evening. Bus after bus after bus over the purple dusk of Waterloo Bridge, the green dome across the water, the white burning sun. Above me, on an upper level, a couple are kissing and I listen to the conversation of the two men next to me. Later – in the interval – we are laughing and there are plastic glasses, darkness, not wanting to go too far from the light.
Friday night with Sian, meeting me with the boys from work who tease her and touch her shoulder. I take her away. In the busy restaurant where there is always a long queue and people spill out onto the pavement and across the street, we have beer from the supermarket wrapped up cold in plastic bags. We lean over the table and eat with our fingers talking about boys and people we know. An arm around Lauren’s shoulder down Brick Lane as we weave between streets and stalls.