Lost for words

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It is my turn to go out for a walk.

The book has slept late, and, not for the first time, is finding it hard to get ready for work. I am showered, dressed and breakfasted by the time I hear it shuffling to the bathroom.

I shout down the corridor, secretly hoping it won’t hear me. ‘I’m heading out for a walk. See you later.’

There is no sign of a reply.

Outside the breeze is brisk, the surface of the river now choppy. People are going about their business, mostly on bikes, studiously avoiding connection with each other. I see only one other pedestrian.

I mooch around aimlessly, taking the odd photograph, occasionally pausing at a shop window. I order coffee at a nearby cafe, one famed for its freshly-baked bread. It would be rude of me not to try some, I think.

As I pay to go, I notice it looks like rain. I scurry back to the flat just as the heavens open, my key now shivering in the lock.

Drying myself off, I notice the book has been busy. Plates dotted with toast crumbs festoon the kitchen counter. Each one displays its own cup of half-drunk coffee. I touch the kettle like a detective, but am none the wiser: the book is nowhere to be seen.

I search in all the usual places, in the bed, under the bed, on the sofa, even out on the balcony. Nothing. I open my mouth to call out for it but nothing comes to mind, suddenly lost for words.

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