The sacred music that I listened to as I walked didn’t deafen me to the sounds that were around me but it seemed to act as a shield.

* *

A group of people were doing a circular ‘harbour walk’ that starts and ends at the SS Great Britain. I wonder why they are talking so loudly instead of taking in their surroundings. Surely that’s the point of a group walk?

They move on. An elderly looking dog wanders by seemingly ownerless. There is no-one in sight with a lead so maybe he or she belongs to a loud walkers.

An overpriced and over-spiced pasty that seemed like a good idea is making me glad I bought a piece of rocky road. I need the sweetness to counteract the overdose of black pepper. Still the loud people, the quiet people, the runners, the people on their phones and the people looking glum pass by.

The rears of the houses on Cumberland Road have an arrangement of windows that seem to be faces displaying shock at the extent of gentrification around the docks. If they were human they’d be telling you that they could tell you some stories.

I am walking again in the vague direction of coffee. The music I’m listening to refuses to let me walk faster than a slow stroll. I pity the people who have no option but to move fast.

The place I am going to is closed. Because it’s closed it makes me feel safe. A kind of friend of another persuasion than me used to walk her dog when I walked mine sometimes and occasionally she to wanted to sit outside there for a cold drink. Her body language would tell people that I was her property. Control over another person by whatever means is abusive behaviour and so, no matter how beautiful her dog is, I have abandoned her as a walking companion.

I don’t know why but I expected to feel deep emotions and not to notice the world around me as I listened to the sacred music. I imagined that I would experience and internal monologue or a stream of consciousness or, to coin an outdated phrase that shows my age, find myself.

Instead of the smiles that I usually attract from strangers there hasn’t been one today. Has the music made me invisible, is my face unusually straight or is it because I’m wearing sunglass? Whatever the reason it makes me feel different and it feels as though I’ve become a less approachable person. I’ve grown used to being the person with the open face and I don’t want to stop being her.