She sits, solitary dinner guest at a small, candle-lit table.
Looks out of the window at a gray sea.
Reads a newspaper.
Eats her dinner.
Then the young man arrives
And pulls up a chair.
She puts the paper down.
He leans over and
Gives her an awkward hug.
I sense, more than see, that he has Downs.
Looks like he is in early twenties (yes, shaving)
Or maybe he’s an older teenager.
The boy hands her three postcards
With careful, child-like printing on them.
While she reads them,
He pulls out his I-Phone and texts someone.
He leans over and hugs her again.
They talk quietly.
He stands up.
For a third time, a hug.
He leaves, and the woman watches him go.
The owner of the hotel comes over
And the woman at the table asks,
“Is he having a good time at the Abbey?”
Ah yes, the young people on pilgrimage
Who lead worship at the Abbey every evening.
I listen, hoping he has found community
In this sacred place.
The response is affirmative.
Satisfied, the mother asks for a pot of tea
To enjoy after her dinner.
As she waits, she picks up her newspaper,
Then puts it down to
Look out of the window
At the gray sea