annanotbob2's Diaryland Diary


Day 258

In writing group this morning C gave us a prompt that said we'd recently retired from a long career undercover with MI5 (or 6, can't remember which is which) and on our first day as a civilian we realise we're being followed. I decided to use it for Paul, who had been Bella's co-protagonist, as I still don't know where he's been in the time since I last saw him. I don't read spy fiction so have no idea of the jargon, the vocab, but this is what I wrote.

Paul couldn't believe it. That woman was following him. She had a good persona - the make-up, the blonde ponytail, the fake expensive handbag, the leopard print mask. There were women who looked like that all around, but he was used to keeping an eye on his surroundings and he'd noticed her, always in the background, wherever he went. For fuck's sake.
He decided to walk one last figure of eight, just to be sure, around the shopping centre. It wasn't really busy, still in this weird half-lockdown, but there were people shuffling along past Zara and River Island, queues of mask-wearers, 2m apart, outside HMV, after this new console no doubt. He ambled slowly around, up the escalator to the second level, down past Smiths and Thornton's and there she still was. This was madness - he'd retired - surely word had got out? She couldn't be one of 'them' still hoping for - what was she hoping for? That was why he'd got out - it was all so petty, either petty or greedy - the trade - he'd had enough, he wanted to live a better life now.
There she was though, flicking through a rack of children's coats in Next, not looking in his direction at all, but she'd been less than 20m away from him all morning. He decided to go for it and walked directly towards her. Without showing any signs of having seen him she left the rail she'd been so closely studying and hurried towards the exit. Now that he was looking, Paul could see that she moved like an athlete.

Today is Son's birthday and I managed to get myself back to the forest to have a picnic and a walk with him. All sorts of chaos ensued beforehand - the clutch went in my car among other things but I borrowed my sister's for the afternoon. I hadn't realised it was a fairly new Land Rover - she uses it for stuff with her horses, driving over fields etc so it's always mud-splattered and looks normal - and it's automatic, which you'd think would be easier, but in fact it isn't when you're not used to it - I kept putting my foot down every time I got to a junction and grabbing the gear stick trying to change down. So I was stressed as fuck by the time I got there, but then I saw my boy and he saw me and his face just softened and it was all just right. We ate our food sat on the brow of a hill, with a view out over miles and miles of countryside, in clean air, surrounded by trees, then walked and talked for a couple of hours and it was fucking brilliant. I cried all the way home and now I'm going to bed. Take care. xx

10:19 p.m. - 27.11.20


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