I ascend the stairs that lead from the limbo light of the underground car park to the square, a quadrangle of paving roofed with a blue sky and lit by pure solar power. My emergence from the earth (or sprouting from the concrete) gives birth to a sensual encounter, one I will unashamedly call a French Affaire.
French Affaire is neither a romantic nor illicit relationship. Rather, it’s a fully licensed cafe overlooking the piazza outside The Point shopping mall. Unfortunately for me, it has got into the habit of flooding my nostrils with the twin aromas of freshly roasted coffee beans and Nutella-filled croissants hot out of the oven. This is when I’m at my weakest psychologically – Monday. It is the start of the working week, the longest day in that week and one which sees me leave home with two cups of water inside my system, at most.
Being taunted this way is a form of bullying, albeit lawful, and this before I’ve even reached school. Like a coward I hasten my pace while resigning myself to the fact that the next 300 metres and eight hours are going be a tortuous affair.