He gently gripped the damp park bench, his gnarled fingers slipping against the lichen, soft and wet, on the underside of the silvered wood. Shivers scrambled up his knotted spine, cold and sharp like a spider with frozen legs, and he clutched at the collar of his worn jacket, his trembling fingers attempting to fasten the topmost button. Giving up, he sighed, and pulled his arthritic legs up tight; for a moment his teeth chattered and his legs shook uncontrollably and then his frail body stilled.
Frost glistened on the ground and a crinkled brown leaf, reminiscent of his wrinkled weathered face, slipped from the tree rooted beside his bench, and silently fell.
As the early hours dawned, autumn’s confetti floated down, finally draping humanity’s loss with nature’s shroud.
Photograph by Lisa Shambrook (Please do not use without permission)
Sometimes I feel like I’m taking up too much of the pavement, and I make myself even smaller, pulling my holey jumper down over my knees and lacing my fingers tighter around my legs. I try to be invisible even though I’m screaming to be seen. I watch feet; I study shoes. Stomping brogues, clip-clopping heels, delicate sandals, cowboy boots, little girls’ T-bars, skyscraper stilettos, boys’ tatty trainers, sensible-for-work flats and flip-flops in the rain all pass me by. This time it’s a pair of smart knee-highs that knock my nearly-empty, polystyrene cup of pennies flying…and yes, I am invisible.