May 26th

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I’ve been watching a couple in their early forties in the square across the street, talking very intently under a tree, amongst the parked cars. There’s a kid with them, a boy of twelve or thirteen, that skinny, floppy-haired look they have, sometimes taking part in the conversation, sometimes stamping off, bouncing a ball on the pavement. He looks bored and irritable, but I start to construct a heart-breaking scenario in which the parents are breaking up – terminally, uncontrollably but quietly, hissing: It’s ov-er! – and the kid is sometimes trying to intervene, trying to make them stop, and sometimes backing away, ignored and helpless. Then another kid, the same age, emerges from somewhere out of sight and starts bouncing another ball on the pavement, and the two of them are bouncing around, smacking the rubber balls down on the pavement, bouncing them harder and higher. From a distance, with the sound turned off, watching a child on his own, boredom and heart-break look much the same.

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