Every morning the scuff-scuff of slippers on the garden path, loose sole slapping like a Labrador’s tongue.
His voice drifts through my open window, carried on a breeze scented by lilac and rubbish bins. His is a sing-song mumble, the hint of some old melody from the blackout, a spell to hold off the Luftwaffe.
He interrupts himself often – greetings, questions asked with no response – until his twittering mixes with the sparrows’ and finches’, his tone matching theirs, adjusting his accent so they might understand him better.
He’s the only one from the flats who uses the garden for anything other than for dumping extinct fridges and gutted pizza boxes, the only one to fill the space with a sound other than the thump of bass.
After the ambulance takes him away I skulk to the feeder, pour slippery seeds in his honour. But the birds have all flown – only drifting feathers and lime left behind – and it makes me wonder if he was talking to them after all.