Winter winds thumped his chest as he weaved through traffic. He’d been warned about drivers who aimed for cyclists. He was getting the message.
It was dark by the time he arrived. The city’s largest park was close by and the dingy terrace houses nearby leaned in against each other like battle stations against the gale.
A shaft of light through a chocked-open door was like a luminous ‘Welcome’ sign. Inside, an urn bubbled, a lone finger prodded an untuned piano and voices; many voices. A tall guy was bent over a trestle arranging sheet music into piles. Underneath a pile of stackable plastic chairs, a long-haired mutt snored with his paws in the air.
Nobody looked his way when he poked his head in. For a tiny second he considered backing out again, but his legs were like pylons cemented to the step. A strong antiseptic smell wafted over other bodily fumes and out the back, a door to a laneway flapped against the wind. He’d seen a few old guys sleeping rough on the pavement. Maybe he was safer inside than out.
A pear-shaped woman in a homemade orange poncho marched towards him. Her polyester slacks stretched over wobbling flesh and her bright red smile resembled a side-show alley clown.
“You must be Simon. Welcome to the choir.”
He kept his sweaty hands in his pockets. Few people seem to notice his nerves, and if he slipped up, he always had his pills.
The director was on the stage, surrounded by choristers. He had the energy of a pup. If he was a teenager, he’d be a candidate for medication. He was cute though. Simon begged him to turn around.
A stylish woman cradled a teacup.
“Warm up time! Come on everyone!”
Circles reminded Simon of youth groups. Every weekend he suffered them, until he was old enough to stay in bed.
“If they hold hands, I’m out of here” he thought.