Monday morning and another long journey to the site, the unspoken anger from last week just below the surface, John and Bob on opposite benches of a swaying and jolting pre-dawn tube train, hard-hats on the floor between their feet, when suddenly
A moment of expectation though with traces, possibly, of the familiar resignation, an acceptance of other Mondays not so dissimilar: always different, always the same.
Seemingly mad at his own forgetfulness, furious teeth over the top of his stubbled lower lip, and only the one remorseless word (apparently) in John’s emptied and unreliable mind.
Like last Monday morning, at about the same time on the same train, just short of the long platform at Shoreditch. The confessed forgetting of John’s lunchbox, a miserable thing in any case, nothing special any other day from Tuesday to Friday, usually no more than a bag of unbranded crisps and a limp, plasticked pasty. Pathetic.
Bob, on the other hand, Bob’s legendary Monday snap. A regular miracle, a very special bag of sandwiches famous on every London site from here to High Barnet.
On a Monday. What a strange coincidence. And yesterday, like every other Sunday, Bob’s weekly visit with the family to Chelmsford. Nice ride in the car, two pints in the Lamb and Flag with Dad, and then his Mum’s unmatchable Sunday roast. Perfect. And always the weekly improvement on perfect: her routine parting gift of leftover chicken sandwiches for the Monday. Chicken, more often than not. Or sometimes pork and pickle. Occasionally, beef and mustard.
Above the seats opposite, up above Bob’s bemused but hopeful face, his pleading detestable face, a saving selection of suddenly fascinating adverts, for Heatbusters and Windsor Castle and cheaper car insurance for single ladies over the age of 25. My Mum, my sandwiches, my lunch. Nothing more to it.
From now on, it depends. If this particular Monday is destined to be no ordinary Monday, which after all is the premise of most stories, Bob and John will have to act, and therefore change; events will move forward, things will happen. Many of those things are likely to be regrettable, and nothing will ever be the same again. Such is the tyranny of verbs.
Alternatively this story, like a thousand million unwritten stories lived day by day in most lives, can continue without verbs, stop before it starts, come to an end before any real harm is done. If Bob and John are lucky.
(The end, until next Monday.)