We all have a strangeness. Mine lurks under canal underpasses and breathes herself flat into the undergrowth so as not to brush past another person she doesn’t know. She holds her breath until they’ve gone, and then, who knows what she might do?
What on earth is she wearing? A coat, perhaps. Something so big that she loses herself in it. Shapeless. Comfortable. She’s the person that nobody saw when asked to remember what happened that night. The forgotten adjective in a three-hour play. Inside that oversized coat, she’s more invisible than a shadow.
When you look closely, she has no face at all, but instead, lots of hands – many more than would ever be necessary – and all the fingers are picking at each other. Sharply. Expertly. Anxiety is a new word, too fancy for what this is. Of service. On edge. Ready for.
She’s old-fashioned, auxiliary, the chuff of steam from an engine. A mud-stained petticoat hem at the end of a day. And because she’s never invited, nobody can ask: ‘you there in the corner, don’t you ever go home?’