I say, ‘It’s like those old pools coupons, a grid, so many boxes to tick, Win, draw, lose.’ She said, ‘I never won one penny, nothing’. I remember M. winning spot-the-ball. Henry each way on the  National. Dad once got into a box at Aintree. Chances abound, don’t they? Take  tonight. The houses opposite are crushed in a bleak pall of lessening, absence is everywhere, vision outlawed. And the day had promised a kind of permanence.

‘Are you settled in?’ The new neighbours.  Yes, we are. But how settled? I want to pursue them down the street. ‘How settled? How settled?’ How would I measure it, this peaceful embodiment. ‘The parks; they are so  close, the trees and grassy slopes, and the little orange blossoms the church planted for us to suck, the view.’ Unnecessary detail. A park. But they are correct. So settled. Views. Chances abounding, possibilities. Dad in his box. Each way.

I can’t help making up stories. That couple, say. She left Jim and her mongrel apes for Pete. Pete and her move across town and like the two parks, trees, grass. They are unhappy now, though higher up, rarified by their catastrophic love. They are truly at home with each other. It was the right thing, even leaving all the kids was, in its way, good for everyone. She wins the pools, whatever. It will be ok in the end. He has gentle pain. The story dies in my mind. Rising up over the houses, my mind strains to see among the firework pops the swathes of good luck drifting west under a careless moon. So many possibilities, like plastic white hoops spinning. Angels are bedding down for night in their shared houses. Their inner organs pulse and sparkle like Saturday night’s TV shows’ light thrown onto the wide pavements of Bishopsworth.

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