Jointed and frustrated. Jointed like the knuckles of his fist. Connected to the next by sinew and flesh and cracking under pressure. Best foot forward, toes cramping with the cold. A starched collar always feels tight in the morning. The tie as well – how can he breathe at all? But up the buttons are buttoned and the keys in the ignition and the M1 awaits and so do 10,000 others.
First to arrive. An unpaid nightwatchman, his colleagues think so. He just thinks he’s more committed. But commitment comes and goes and it leaves before his kids wake for school. They don’t know any different. But they will one day. And his wife will too. There’s a high-wire between your next raise and your wife finding her passion without you and with a free-thinking, brown-skinned kid from Adelaide.
His hands won’t stop. They twitch these days. They smell of nicotine and soap. The soap barely masks a secret his wife pretends not to smell and tries to ignore when her friends gossip: “you know he smokes”.
Written on the 29th of May, 2017.