I’ve recently come across the Trifecta weekly challenge. The aim is to write a piece between 33 and 333 words, using the prompt from a Merriam Webster dictionary definition. This week’s one word prompt is ‘idle’
1: lacking worth or basis : vain <idle chatter> <idle pleasure>
2: not occupied or employed: as
a : having no employment : inactive <idle workers>
b : not turned to normal or appropriate use <idle farmland>
c : not scheduled to compete <the team will be idle tomorrow>
3: a : shiftless, lazy
If you don’t ‘get’ (as they say) this piece, there’s a link at the end that might cast some light.
A Different Drum
It’s a cold Friday morning in January, mist is curling off the Thames and Jess sits on her blanket in her usual spot on the embankment, clad from head to toe in contrasting shades of her favourite colour – purple.
I stop, as I do every Friday to remind her there’ll be a bed and a hot meal at the hostel tonight if she wants it. That’s my job, offering shelter, but I’d stop and talk to Jess even if it weren’t. I remind her that she can take up the offer any time after 4.00pm. The opening time is actually 5.00pm, but for Jess I’d make an exception.
She grins: “You after my body again Tom Collier?”
“It’s your soul I’m more interested in,” I say, returning the grin, “but after a good wash who knows which way the wind will blow?”
Her laugh is harsh, cackling, and passers-by turn in curiosity, quickly superseded with distaste.
To the casual eye, Jess is just another idle scrounger, another blot on the London landscape, but I know Jess dances to the beat of a different drum.
Intrigued as to why she appears here one day a week, and why she never takes up the offer of a bed, I followed her one Friday when she left her patch. I saw her dump the day’s taking into the upturned hat of an old man playing a violin near the park and then followed as she ambled towards the tube station, running her stick along the railings as she went. Shortly after, she arrived at her destination, a small warden-controlled apartment for the elderly.
Something has pricked my memory, something I read somewhere. So I get on the internet and search.
Today I’m clutching a red knitted hat that used to belong to my mother, and I offer it to her.
“Thought you might like this,” I say, “it doesn’t go, though it’ll keep your ears warm.”
I wink, and we exchange a glance of mutual understanding.