2230 22.30 CLARA

22.30 CLARA

After the long prison wall, she avoids the dank bridge and goes up Westgate, past the station entrance, the family court, the art house, Clara is just about to cross the road when she hears something from the Orangery garden. She goes through an arch and down steps, stands under a tree behind people sitting in coats in front of a screen.

She recognises the film, she borrowed it from the library thinking Wuthering Heights would fill an afternoon, period romance, huge emotion, it turned out to be unremitting, hard, she couldn’t watch right through but for a few moments now she takes pleasure from a cinema of grass, leaves, air. An attractive girl with long boots and a pony tail smiles, points to an empty chair, Clara smiles back and gently shakes her head.

The film reasserts its grimness and Clara is ready for whiskey.

In Burgage Square she steps over onto the grass and lays her hand against the sculpture on the bit she thinks of as stomach, and sees the man. The boy.