19.1.18 Puddles on the way back from the school run
"Is it broken?" said the man, nodding to my scooter while keeping cold hands in his pockets. He has a face like scrubbed potato, his cheeks purple. The rest of him is all shoulders and shadow.
"Oh, no, thank you! I had just stopped to take photos of the puddles," I say, and wave my camera. He nods again with a frown and gets in his car.
"Did you drop something?" the lady asked. Her baby is trying to gain purchase on his hat with the thick bricks of his mittened hands, barely able to lift his arms in his snowsuit. It is covered in winged dragons.
"No, I... sorry, I... no, I'm fine. I was just looking at the ice on the puddles," I try to say back over the angry wail that comes from somewhere inside the swollen polyester, but she just smiles and, still looking at me, carries on the conversation with her friend, baby bouncing on her angled hip.
"What are you doing?" the third voice says, dark laced boots drawing closer to my bent head. I look up and she's tall and sharp with the kind of tight mouth that waits in readiness to be appalled. I wonder if her days ever go as she expected and conclude they probably do not.
"Oh, I was just taking photos. There's lots of ice today," I say, smiling.
"Oh! I see. Good. These roads are dreadful, aren't they? I've always thought someone should do something about them. Such a state."
"That's not what I meant," I lament, quietly, as she strides past me, neck long. Her pace doesn't slow as her heel splinters another puddle with a crunch.
I wait a while for the coast to clear and then, with a wicked, undeterred grin, make my way over to look at that one too.