She watches by streetlight. Listens. The wind snarls down the back alley. She knows the teenage burglars are out there, prising back-gates with practiced fingers but stops herself yelling - out into the blackness,
‘There’s nothing left to nick - I’ll tell yer Mam about you!’
Glass, broken-heart jagged, crowns the walls of her redbrick yard, keeping out the alley. Winter moved into her heart last year. She fears it will never leave.
Later this year on an open-windowed summer’s day, the stench of dog shit and rubbish will mingle with Lynx on the T shirt she finds amongst old love letters in the dusty underbed. She will discover he did not take everything.
That same day she will be startled by the pounding on her door - loud as the drums from the metal music that used to blare through that house, making her ears bleed, making her scream for it to stop. She will open that door, forgetting first to look through the spy hole.
Today, she’s still looking out when the pigeons arrive. The beating wings a short, sharp flutter of applause. They come every day for the man who shuffles past the dustbins and back-gates. As he scatters the grain - tosses it high into the pale sunlight, she sees how it glitters. It makes her think of gold.