Tuesday, 27 January 2009

WALKING HOME FROM SOHO



I had something on my mind, a question begged answering and I was scratching at it. I knew if I caught the bus and got home fast, I’d only lie in my bed staring at the ceiling itching at these ideas - so I decided to walk home. I was striding from Soho, it would take a good hour to get home, but I’d tire myself out, sober up and hopefully find some resolve and solution. I marched stridently and thought hard, conflict in a mental war zone, my brain was firing bullets, rockets of pros and cons. It was 3am and it was then, it was then when I met death. Death wasn’t in a black cloak and pointing a skeletel finger. Death wasn’t old or crippled. Death wasn’t bloody and screaming. Death wasn’t feuding and angry or making a sound. Death was still and cold. Death was a silent girl. She lay in the middle of the pavement on Tottenham Court Road. You couldn’t miss her but no-one else stopped or was stopping. There wasn’t any blood, nothing as colourful as that, no vomit or urine, there was nothing to see. Just the chalky blue of her white lips. Cold, ice cold concrete against her cheek, bitter night air whipped around us both. I bent down and felt her cheek and her face was stone, stone cold. She looked like she had fallen out of a plane. Had she fallen from the roof above? She was bent wrong, her arm was twisted, her legs were bare, her awkward bluish ankles were exposed. She was well-heeled, manicured, mid-thirties, with a blonde expensive haircut and designer spectacles. I was kneeling down, the chill seeped through my jeans and skin beneath. I saw the pavement flat against her cheek, the freezing filthy concrete, so I took my scarf off and put it gently under her head and then I covered her with my coat. I put my fingers under her nose, a pale luke-warm nearly breath, perhaps a breath, it was impossible to tell, my fingers were numb. I felt inside her collar, on her neck and throat and I couldn’t find a pulse or feel any warmth or movement or life. It was then that a man approached in an orange vest from the nearby underground station, Goodge St. Call an ambulance, I told him and as I said that her mobile phone started ringing. It made us both jump. I should answer that? I said, and the tube man nodded yes with his own phone pressed to his ear calling 999. I followed the sound and found it came from her coat pocket. The tone was an actual ring-ringing, not a download of a song and the screen flashed the name Dad over a picture of a child. It was a perfect white-haired boy with chocolate smeared around his grinning mouth, he was smiling out at me with the word Dad flashing. This must be her son, I thought, she must be somebody's mum. I pressed the flashing green button and a voice asked, Where are you?....

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