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Walks

Peter walked down his road three times a day. It was a routine he had formed since retiring and since Marge’s passing. Instead of being in his home alone, he decided that he would find out the going’s on on his street instead. Each morning he would rise at 7am, bathe, drink a cup of coffee with a bowl of oatmeal, throw on his flat cap and bomber jacket over trousers and shirt and enjoy a cigarette while walking down his road.

He would start at 8am and by the time he’d arrive back it would be 9:30. He would then have a nap until 1pm where he would repeat the same trek down his road until 2:30. He’d then eat his dinner, normally a tin of soup to keep him going and repeat this walk at 7pm until 8pm, before finally going to bed. This was his life for the last 3 years.

One day on his morning walk, Peter noticed a new café that had opened. It was 5 minutes down from his home and it was called ‘Le Café Agreable’.

Peter looked the venue up and down, ‘This used to be a bookies didn’t it?’ he muttered to himself.

He looked around and noticed that most of the other shops hadn’t opened yet. Peter checked his pocket and found £5 and he went inside this new café.

The heater above the door caught him by surprise as he entered

“Ah now that ain’t bad is it!” he exclaimed, looking up at the heater that had given him an overwhelming sensation of heat before taking a seat near the door.

The walls were of oak and had wall units with wine bottles inside of them for display.

The waiter walked over to him and placed a menu before him

“Good morning sir, would you like a drink while you look over the menu?”

“You lot do a full English?” Peter replied

“Unfortunately not sir, we’re a French breakfast café. If you have a quick look at the menu you’ll see what we..”

“French you say?”

The waiter stumbled, “Yes sir, French”

“Is the owner of this place French then?”

“Erm… no actually sir, he’s from Brighton.”

“So why they running a French café in England then? In fact, where are you from?”

“I’m from Brighton too sir.”

“So you know the owner?”

“My uncle…”

“Right, so it’s a British family owned business that sells French food in an English city”
“That’s right”

“This country’s gone absolute bonkers!”

There was an awkward silence before the waiter spoke again

“Would you like a drink before ordering then sir?”

“You mean to tell me that if any other lot did this, they wouldn’t get some flak from the locals from the old school round here, but you lot swan in from the South Coast and open up a European restaurant like you’re from Saint-Germain yourselves. You’re having a laugh. This place used to be a bookie. I used to do horseracing in here and you lot have come and turned it into a bakery for the glorification of the frog’s culture.”

Peter stood up and went to the door. The young waiter stared with his eyebrows raised as Peter went back to the road and continued his walk.

An hour later after trekking the route, Peter returned home and closed the door behind him. He stood near his door for a few moments before taking his coat off.

“The cheek of them, the absolute cheek” he said to himself, “maybe you’re just old mate, the world’s moving on”

He nodded, muttered in agreement and took a deep sigh.

Peter went to his side table in his living room, plastic still on the chairs since their purchase a few years before and he remembered how he hadn’t had a visitor to even make a cup of tea for. He checked his address book by the landline phone sitting on the table and flicked through it’s pages.

“James Cane, dead, Mrs Butters, cow, Mr Butters, deceased, Derek Potter, how’s he even here? This thing ain’t even organised alphabetically!”

He put the address book back and went to his room for a nap.

He woke up restless a few hours later and decided, for the first time since she passed, he wasn’t going for a walk at lunch. Peter lay in bed until the evening and didn’t go for his walk then either.

He dipped in and out of sleep and spent his time remembering his youth, flickers of past glories presented themselves in his mind, the time he scored the winning goal in his youth team’s cup quarter final after extra time, the first time he had a paycheck from working at the manufacturing company, the time he fell over on his second date with her as he entered the restaurant… he remembered her smile and the joy of these previous times evaporated.

A tear formed in his eye and he rolled over in his bed and went to sleep.

Peter stayed in his bed for two more days after this, forsaking his walks and routine, only getting up to go to the toilet, and on the third night he slowly rolled over and went to sleep. He never woke up