I like to sit outside a marriage counsellor’s and watch the couples come and go. There’s a café across the road, I take a window seat and do crosswords. The appointments are regular, business is good. Strong emotion (4). There goes a duo now, they’re going in; she brisk, he exaggerated in his movement, sarcastic compliance. They’ll be out in an hour. They always come out different. Whether it’s working or not, they come out different from how they went in. Love? Matches the E from scale. But then, so would hate. If scale is right.
The marriage counsellor works out of one of those tall Georgian houses that remind me of tall, well-dressed men in top hats. The plaque on the wall says, Karen Massey, Marriage and Family Counselling, second floor. I picture that couple just gone in, taking the stairs, perhaps her briskness flagging, his mannerisms tamed.
Scale has to be right, it fits with carousel and bean.
The café serves a passable coffee but the cheesecake more than makes up for it. Baked raspberry and lemon, blueberry and soured cream, caramel and fleur de sel.
When the couple reappear I can see they’ve been through the ringer. There’s a new awareness of each other though it’s too soon to tell if it is optimistic or wounded. They are hiding it. The wariness is evident in the distance between them, a formality that could be the result of a conciliatory reappraisal. Or not. That said, they set off in unison, slightly rigid, with heads high.
Of course, small rodent would be vole, which puts an L at the start of the four-lettered word.
The next couple arrive separately. An hour later they emerge, expressions changed. As I suspect, they go off in different directions.