by Pamela Thomas
Cheryl's dog died yesterday, scruffy thing. He made it to fifteen
But no-one asked how she was. They never do. So no-one knows
It was her fortieth birthday too. No-one knew that either, the usual routine
Even if she did say, no one would care she doesn’t suppose
Cheryl works in the Odeon, the one on Douglas road
She didn’t intend to stay so long, been there ten years now
Never had a day sick. Apart from once in 2018 when it snowed
She did try to make it, but her flimsy sand-shoes wouldn’t allow.
Her shift starts and she drags her mop with a heavier heart than most days
Her forehead soon sweating, she shoves her glasses back on her shiny round face
She spots some lads loitering at the pick and mix and watches to make sure they pay
She wonders what she’d do if they didn’t and decides, probably nothing. Just in case
She looks over as Linda ushers two old dears to their seats
She briefly wonders if they’re sisters or maybe lifelong mates
Linda is a steward. She doesn’t mop, she’s too pretty and petite
Cheryl involuntarily touches the wiry hair on her double chin. What a disgrace,
She blinks a few times to stop the tears. Her eyes were tired of blinking
Her hands push the mop, red raw from years of bleach and neglect
Maybe she could get a manicure? Who you? She heard. What was she thinking?
It’s funny how no one noticed how much she’d blinked that day, but what did she expect?
She puts her mop and bucket back and grabs her coat to leave
No-one really noticed she’d gone. No-one really noticed the end
They never saw Cheryl again. They didn’t ask why, so never thought to grieve
Cheryl's dog died yesterday. No-one cared. They didn’t even pretend.