28. Baby Barista

Every few months, someone ‘gets parole’ and gets out of this shithole. This time, it’s Lorna. She had an unlucky start in life, was a teenage single parent, who got glassed in the face accidentally, by someone who thought she was someone else. She said she found the whole criminal justice experience fascinating, so did a law degree at night school over six years, and is now leaving to do her pupillage at some Employment Law firm. She wants to be a criminal barrister, and I have no doubt she’ll be brilliant at it.

The scar runs around her eyebrows right down her left cheek, and over the bridge of her nose is a tiny ridge of lighter coloured, hard skin. It doesn’t bother her usually, only when she wears sunglasses. She says it makes people take her seriously. Every so often, some well-meaning person will tell her about the benefits of some oil that reduces scarring or gently enquires why she never had plastic surgery. She’s so stoic, and will say things like, “it could have been worse, and made me appreciate what I’ve got now, and not what I had.”

I’ve never met a more hard-working woman in my life. Full-time job, mother of a tweenie, studying for a degree, learning karate, and has a part-time job as a barista. “Men can wait” she says, “I haven’t got time to look after anyone else right now.” She was only a kid herself, when she had her son, and his dad is a “bit of an arsehole” but she doesn’t stop him seeing the boy (when he can be bothered to) because she doesn’t “want to be the bad guy in all this.” Her son has already been let down by him loads of times and he is coming to the realisation on his own that his dad is a dick. There was a brief few years, when the boy was out of nappies but not yet bored of going to Maccy D’s every week, when her ex tried to make an effort, but teaching a boy to play pool is not really being a proper father.

Sid thought he was being clever by writing the same thing in every leaving card, including Lornas.

There we are then, perhaps I should say, old friend, farewell! See you next time!

His acronyms might have been funny the first time round, but they’re wearing thin now, Still, they’re better than the crappy “best wishes” and “good luck” or the even slightly witty, “see you in court!” She’s up for it and taking it all in good spirits, and is even wearing the ‘trainee barista’ t shirt someone gave her.

Lorna’ ex is ironically, up in court next week for some offences called “outraging public decency” and “voiding urine.” Apparently he was caught shagging some woman in a car in the multi story. In broad daylight. After leaving the police station, he then went out on the lash to celebrate and the very same copper caught him taking a piss in the street. He said he had some weed on him, but they confiscated it and let him off for that.

Sid said, “he likes getting his cock out in public, doesn’t he?”

Lorna laughs and says, “you’ll never guess what he does for a living? Not really a living though. Go on, guess? What kind of no-effort job could a lazy, vain man get?”

Sid shakes his head.

“Fucking life model. Twenny quid an hour to stand stark bollock naked in front of a load of bored housewives and then he gets to shag one of them afterwards in her car!”

A few months later, I see her in the street and we have a quick chat to catch up. She tells me that her first prosecution was a bail application in Crown Court, and she couldn’t even do that one because she was ‘professionally embarrassed’. Turned out, the defendant was one of her ex’s friends.