My world has shrunk to the space between my house and the corner shop. I don’t go anywhere else; I can’t drive, and it’s not worth risking public transport, so, as of a few months ago, my whole world is half a mile long. When you walk the same half mile stretch every few days to pick up a pint of milk, you tend to notice things that you never even thought to look at before. The forest green ceramic tile of the house number plaque at number 392 has a little crack in it, just between the numbers 9 and 2. There’s a pot hole near the roundabout which grows a few centimetres in diameter every week or so, and now it’s nearly the size of a dinner plate. The house on the corner has paused the work on their extension since April, and the tarpaulin that covers a portion of the roof has a rip in it; I wonder if their whole attic is flooded.
And on the bus shelter near the end of my world, there’s a poster. I’ve seen it dozens of times since they put it up in about December last year, but I’ve never really looked. Only the other day, I did. It used to be a poster advertising the employment prospects for those who could speak Welsh, some effusive copy about how many jobs in the public sector required Welsh speakers. This is your time to learn Welsh! Employment beckons for a person of your skill! Wales is booming!
That poster hasn’t been changed in 9 months; it’s hardly a priority for the council to use their already meagre funds to tend to the aesthetics of bus stops, after all, especially now that the bus services are so reduced. As I remember it, the poster used to have a photo on it of a young man, grinning placidly at the sheer joy of being off the dole and in a cushy council job, and the bilingual caption said something to the effect of ‘the council needs you.’ By now, it’s bleached totally white by nearly a year of sun. There’s still the vague shape of a man, the outline of a head and shoulders, but all the detail is invisible, his smile disappeared into nothing. The space where the excitable copy shrieked about employment opportunities is long gone too, worn away into the same blank white as the poster background. There’s nothing there any more except for the vague impression of what used to be, half a year ago.
Says it all, really.
[RecordCovid19–80] Female, 28, Awaiting Employment, Wales