this too
Friday, April 08, 2005

Jason (I’ll call him that) works in the newsagents, worked there when I moved here 17 years ago. He’s efficient at the job, but there’s something slightly off key, over-deliberate. Perhaps he has mild learning difficulties. He always looks the same, slightly alarmingly eternally youthful, very very thin, in jeans and baggy sweaters.

When I first went there, the shop was run by two old women, and Jason. A few years later they retired and sold or leased to two business-like youngish men from Sri Lanka. Jason remained. His relationship with the other men is one of pained politeness, thinly veiled hostility on both sides. I’ve always wondered what the story was. Did Jason ‘come with the shop’? Was keeping him on part of the lease? Perhaps, even, he became the owner and the others manage it for him.

The other day I met him in the street, just around the corner from the newsagents. I said Hello Jason and he said Hello. I continued to the shop. And there, behind the counter… was Jason.

I’m shortsighted and don’t always wear my glasses. I probably said hello to some surprised guy who wasn’t Jason.

But just possibly he’s been twins all these years. I’m being vigilant, intent on spotting any ‘continuity’ issues. But I’m very bad at noticing when someone looks different, shaves off his beard or moustache for example. I tend to see the person in my mind’s eye. One day he’ll surely have a spot on his face, or a bandage on his hand, or something… and I’ll be dropping in extra often to check whether he always has it.
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Freelance copy-editor and translator. Keen on language, literature, photography, art, music, buddhist meditation and the countryside.

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