a girl with holes in her knees

I close the pub garden gate and wave at the window. Behind the glass is a man, who I had been flirting with for the past half hour. 
The cathedral looms ahead of me and grows taller as I approach it. Its silent figure casts a shadow over me and I shiver, beating my hands against my thighs. I slide my palm along the brick wall, which is cold to touch under the light of the luminous moon. 
I speed up my pace and although I know it is dangerous to take the canal path home after dark, I take it and bend down to pick up stones and throw them into the water. I watch them all drown. 
My curls tangle in the loose strands of the branch from the weeping willow and I wind myself around the lamppost that signals the end of the path. 
I pull from my bag an envelope, crumpled like a ten-pound note. Another manuscript to another publisher. I slot it into the red letterbox that casts some colour into the dark.
The ground slopes and I almost trip in surprise at its steep decline. 
A small man, hunched over his instrument, sings. A busker, he uses the broken strings of his guitar to form a faint and rambling melody, ‘I know a girl with holes in her knees,’ he wails.
‘A girl with holes in her knees?’ I query, stopping, my hand in my pocket for loose change. ‘Are you sure you have got that right?’
‘Aye, aye,’ he chuckles. 
I laugh with him, throwing the change at his feet.
‘Nice you’ve got a sense of humour,’ he calls after me. ‘Thank you very much,’

Kate Lewington (C) 

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