Night walks

There are people in the distance. For a few seconds I can’t tell which direction they’re walking in — towards me or away. I’m often the first to cross the road to avoid proximity. If we’re going in the same direction and I begin to catch up with them, I’ll slow down. Not necessarily because of Covid; I just don’t want to be seen when I’m on my night walks.

Every night after work I pound the pavements in my bubble in north London like a flâneur. Work tends to finish around midnight. This is my latest lockdown obsession

Sometimes I change the route, discover a new street, a house for sale, a dead end. I watch the empty Tube train going over the bridge (the Northern line is the loudest). I’m followed by a friendly fox. I pick up the pace when it’s uphill, I slow it down when it gets too hot under my coat. I put my head down when cars approach. I never look at my phone.

I see the allotments with waiting lists that go on for years. I see the stained glass windows, the front doors, and the houses owned by other people.