An intermittent conversation occurs between two ladies, somewhat aged, in a covered market café near the centre of a small town. They are sitting at a small round table near the counter; a few thin bags of shopping are around their feet; the other tables are largely empty. It's a cold spring day and they've kept their thick coats on. Each lady is picking at her meal, beans with two slices of toast, and occasionally sipping from a mug of tea.
Quiet words come from one, admonishing the other.
Quiet words from one, admonishing the other.
Omitted words from the other, the younger.
They sit, finishing their mugs of tea. The café is almost empty – the tables wiped, the chairs all neat – and waiting to close on this tranquil late afternoon.
One woman, the younger, slouched back in her chair, is quietly humming a discordant tune; an imitation of some forgotten pop song.
One woman, the older, fiddles with the cutlery on her empty plate and scowled disapprovingly.