2011-02-08 Blue Day

by Matt Triewly

"Hi!" She smiles.

"Hi!" I respond and smile back politely.

We pass at the end of the meat aisle and for a second or two I cannot place her.


She's behind me in the queue at the checkout now - we're in the Co-Op.

I remember that a few years ago I kind of fancied her in an unattainable way - she was married - but though she was an 'older' woman there was just something about her: well spoken, assured, handsome, well presented - the kind of attributes that grow on you

But something had changed and I no longer found her attractive.

"Steve died... died about two weeks ago... we were on holiday on France... massive heart attack."

"I'm really sorry to hear that."

I touch her shoulder, as if I really think the gesture will take away an ounce of her pain.

I visualise Steve the last time I saw him before he sold the shop, a chemist's, on Ryde Esplanade... I see him old yet still vital, tall, bald with white wild tufts of hair at the sides and animated about retirement.

I think of all the knowledge he once possessed - now gone.

"My mother died just before," she adds.

She seems shocked that life could turn out this way, yet tragedy is always the penultimate chapter. I want to shake her and say, 'How could you expect it to turn out any other way?'

I don't. Instead, I touch her longer on the shoulder again.

"He was a good bloke, you'll miss him."

She smiles again.

I pay for my shopping and simply say 'bye', leaving her with her sorrow. Her loneliness.


I'm walking along Spencer Road on the way home and the sky is a luminescent blue, a mesmerising blue, only I understand that, only I know what it invokes in me: a transcendent serenity beyond the suffering of existence - it makes me at one with the cosmos.

I just wish I could impart that to her but I know that she wouldn't understand, just wouldn't understand what I mean by a 'blue day'.


I get in and phone my son - it's great to hear his voice. I love him and miss him dearly.

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