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#194: Free

#194: Free
Odd Spot - The Age - 08/09/2022

Peter had been sitting by himself at the food court. The donut place sold day old food first thing at a discount.

He bought a mixed bag and a coffee, enough to last him all day. This was a recent discovery for him, the ability to eat on the little money he had left over each week.

He sat down at a table and was sipping his coffee slowly. He was appreciating the art of making something last. His coffee was his ticket to sit and enjoy the company of other humans instead of being stuck in his tiny apartment by himself. There was something for the small snippets of conversation he could have with the staff. The young girl, not much older than Matilda, was getting used to him, and he didn’t mind the familiarity.

His day would start with a bus ride to a shopping centre far enough away that he’d be sure to not run into anyone he knew. He still had some dignity.

Life out here, in the western suburbs, was very different. Large proportions of the people were from some place else.

A woman sat beside him a couple of tables away. She had three children with her, one in a pram and two boys with short cropped hair. They were already alpha males in the making, with their defiance towards their mother.

The older one was angry he didn’t get Maccas. He refused to eat the toasted sandwich.

After ten minutes, she left, frustrated and embarrassed.

She left the food trays on the table.

Peter slide across and ate the food. He could see some people watching him, but he didn’t care.