‘Feathers’, a story from the archives:

Barry Lee Thompson


Tuesday morning. A couple of hours before his train is due to depart. We go to the champagne bar on the platform. G insists on sitting outside, even though it’s cold enough for scarves. None of the other customers are as foolish. “We’re hardy,” says G. I mishear him. “Hardy,” he says. We eat croissants with butter, and salt-and-pepper scrambled eggs. The coffee – bitter, and strong, and too hot – is delicious, and seems to hold some hint of the smoky-darkness of the future in its depths. Our conversation is easy, requiring little thought (on the surface, anyway): the slanting light through the glass roof, the just-so perfection of the table arrangements. This is how people talk, perhaps, at times like these. In his eyes, a fleck which I’m sure I’ve never noticed before. Hazel, slight, and very fine. I want to hold his face steady, and examine the…

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