January 3

At the pharmacy counter we queue with patients, patience, suppressed impatience, harbouring our ailments. We nod politely, then avert our eyes. A woman with reddened nose; an old man, bent with bones; a new mum, anxious in her milky, talcum love. There is a second counter to the side – another queue. They tread the spot, greet each other, joke until they reach the front – a plastic bottle which they drink, every drop, and wipe their mouths in gratitude or some other cocktail of emotion.  All medicine, and medicine for all.

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