There he was. Arthur Scargill. Sixty feet high and wearing a miner’s helmet.
It wasn’t Scargill, of course. It was a mural in brick of a steelworker who looked a bit like him. The mural had been made when the gable wall was built in the eighties. At that time the man was living in another city, and so he hadn’t seen it until he came back home to Sheffield. The first time the man saw it he’d assumed it was Scargill because he thought it looked a bit like him. He’d only discovered it wasn’t Scargill a few months later. He’d read the story about the miner’s union paying for his luxury London flat for so many years. It had made him wonder why anyone would commission a mural of a man like Scargill. He’d had a look on the internet and found out that they hadn’t, that there were no monuments to Arthur Scargill anywhere. He felt that this seemed appropriate.
He scrubbed the condensation from the window with the sleeve of his coat. The bus had driven past Arthur Scargill. It had passed the pound store and the cheap hotel. They were approaching Angel Street, which meant…
There she was.
She stood at the bus stop wearing a white raincoat that looked like it was made of some kind of plastic. It should have looked cheap and tawdry but she somehow made it look smart and tasteful. She had knee length black boots and a black hat and a pair of black gloves and she should have looked common but she didn’t. She never did. She looked fabulous, as usual.
He twisted in his seat to keep her in sight for as long as he could. The bus whirred past her and on towards West Bar. He wondered where she came from to catch her bus here. He wondered where she was going. Hardly anyone got on or got off at the stop she used. The road from here headed north from the city centre. He guessed that this stop served the area around Hillsborough but he wasn’t sure. It didn’t matter. She was from somewhere else, going to somewhere else. She was not here.
He’d seen her, at that stop, at this time of day for the last couple of weeks. He’d started this latest contract at the Bank at around the same time. He’d seen her on the first morning. As soon as he saw her it was as if she was familiar to him, as if he already knew her. She stood in a queue but it seemed to him that there was nobody else there, no other people around her. She had bright blue eyes and cherry red lips and a smile like a painting. When she smiled her eyes squeezed tight, leaving her squinting like a beautiful baby. She had a way of standing that emphasised her hips, her body loose-jointed but elegant. That was the word for her. She was elegant.
Infatuated was the best word for him. It was an infatuation; there was no doubt about it. He’d never had one before but knew he’d got one now. He’d always thought of people who succumbed to this kind of thing as being weak-willed or weird or both. He was neither. He was almost sure of that. And anyway, what was wrong with infatuation? It wasn’t a bad thing. It just meant that he thought a lot about her. A lot.
He got off opposite the Law Courts and headed towards his office. He decided to pick up a takeaway coffee from the cafe on the other side of the street. He was still thinking about the girl. At the pedestrian crossing he pressed the button and waited to cross the road. The sign of the green man walking appeared and he set off across the road.
There was a screech of brakes and a car halted three inches from his leg.
Get the full story in Steel Works.