Across from the pub, an office building, presenting to us its side elevation. A column of windows, about half a dozen in height.
In many workplaces people making or taking calls on their mobile phones will leave their desks and make their way to a more anonymous part of the building: a corridor, a stairway, a lift lobby. There they stand and shuffle as they speak – if there is a window they will typically look out of it for all or part of the call.
It was that part of the afternoon in which anyone going back to the office would have done so, and the post-work clientele had yet to appear. I was drinking Bombardier, because he got the first round in and he can’t ask for lager, he says.
Every now and then a face and torso would appear at one of the windows opposite. At one point there were four. Four in a row. “Connect Four!”, I remarked. All this was happening behind him.
Once, when all four fully presented themselves at the window, and none were crouched into themselves in their phone calls, and two were gesticulating, the sun came out; the light fell on all four. The squares of window stood out against the dark concrete. It was like looking at a grand opera stage set: they could have flung the glass aside and burst into song.