Stepping out of Supervalu on the Walkinstown Road, I rested my bag on the wall at the entrance to the car park.
Taking out the stuffed peppers, stuffed mushrooms, salmon fishcakes, and miscellaneous vegetables, I found the bag of peanuts I had bought.
A Dublin GP once advised that if ever felt that my blood sugar was not as high as it might be, I should eat something savoury rather than sweet. The appointment had been arranged on return to Dublin after I had driven from Dublin to Somerset and bought a bag of Murray Mints at Strensham services on the M5 motorway. I had eaten the sweets while driving southwards and stepping out of the car in Somerset had nearly fainted. My father had checked my blood sugar level to find that there had been a “bounce,” and that it had fallen to 2.8.
Standing with my shopping bag hooked over my arm, I opened the bag of nuts and ate a couple. It was almost dark and I stood on the pavement staring absent-mindedly at a bus that was parked down the road. Perhaps the blood sugar had gone low, for I seemed inert.
“Are you alright, sir?”
I stirred from stillness. Although, I was wearing a grey, fleece-lined hoodie, the boy had recognized me.
“Yes, thank you for asking.”
The students are all required to wear masks in school, so I have to try to recognize them by their eyes and hair. I think he was a first or second year student. He was dressed in a tee shirt and shorts.
“Aren’t you cold?”
“No, sir. I’m fine.”
I walked toward the Long Mile Road and the boy looked back at me a couple of times, as if to assure himself that the odd old teacher was safe to be left alone.
Wandering back to the flat, I tried to imagine what thoughts might have passed through the mind of the boy. Had he returned to his home and told his parents that the new teacher had been standing outside of Supervalu staring into space.
I decided that my actions should be very clear and definite. Reaching the Long Mile Road, there was no traffic coming from the direction of the city, but I stood and watched for the green man at the traffic lights before venturing to cross the road.
Perhaps it had been low blood sugar, perhaps it had been inertia, perhaps detachment is just a feature of age.