Archive for July, 2011
She came out of the cubicle, glanced sideways at me as I tried to figure out why I had a large pimple emerging between my eyebrows, and then she walked out of the washroom without a word. My jaw dropped open. She hadn’t washed her hands! She had been in that cubicle when I came in a couple of minutes ago so I knew she definitely needed to wash those hands but somehow that hadn’t occurred to her. Or maybe it had and she didn’t care. How was I supposed to touch the door handle as I left the washroom? I wiped down the handle before I opened the door, feeling like a paranoid germophobic patient.
I thought I would forget about the incident in time but a few days later, I saw the girl as I was returning to the office building in the evening. She was leaving with another girl and I cringed as they walked past me. Worst of all, I had to touch the door handle to close the door behind me. I have never been introduced to her as I think she is a temp who works for one of the many firms in the building but there is a chance that one day I will have to speak to her and all I will be able to see is a large single-celled, prokaryote microorganism (yes, I resorted to Wikipedia). Continue reading
(Two posts in one day – Stop press! I thought I should mention that this story was written a few months ago and very loosely inspired by Damien Rice’s song “Cold Water” which I couldn’t get out of my head for days. Everytime I thought of the lyrics, I pictured a girl standing in a bitterly cold downpour…)
Jess blinked hard as a trail of cold water ran down her forehead and onto her lashes. She didn’t wipe her face when the water dragged black muck from her heavily mascaraed lashes into her eyes, causing them to sting. She just blinked again and shook her head. The pain felt good, felt real; more real than anything else happening in her life at that moment. She stood outside in the rain, staring at the profile of the man sitting by the window in the brightly lit café. The street was bustling with night life but she didn’t notice any of it. She couldn’t take her eyes off him and yet she hated him so much that it made her feel sick. No, she didn’t hate him. She just dreaded the conversation she was going to have with him in a few minutes.
He looked up from his half filled glass as she slid into the seat opposite him. The relief on his face was overwhelming.
“I wasn’t sure you’d show up.”
“I said I would.”
“I know but…” He stopped and looked down at his glass.
“Go on, you can say it.”
“I promised I wouldn’t rub it in.”
“But you have to. Why else are we sitting here if you can’t say it?”
He finally managed to look up at her and the anxiety in his eyes was unsettling. It certainly didn’t look like he was trying to be smug about it. He noticed a waitress approaching their table but he waved her away. Continue reading
It might look like I stumbled onto a mass bike accident but (believe it or not) this evening as I was heading home from work, a group of at least a hundred cyclists (they seemed that many) all rode up to a junction by Euston Station, got off their bikes and lay on the ground! Why? The placards some people held said they were opposed to the rise in university fees. Quite an innovative way of protesting methinks. The police appeared pretty quickly and got rid of them but I have to say it was fun to watch, despite the fact that I couldn’t get home because of their stupidity. Only in London :-).
PS – See why it’s good to avoid the tube and get on a bus – you’d never see this type of scene trapped underground.
It’s official – every fifth woman I encounter on the street, on the bus, on the (dreaded) tube, in shops, everywhere basically, is with child. Ok maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration. Every eighth or ninth woman. And that’s not counting those who aren’t showing yet. Yes it’s an epidemic which has been blamed on the recession: no money to go out = cuddling in bed + shenanigans = baby explosion. It still makes me chuckle childishly when I think about it and I desperately want to point at people and say “I know why you’re pregnant, haha. Here’s a tenner, go to the cinema instead!”
It was all fun till I read in the papers last week that the UK has a problem with population growth (tell me something new) because last year – wait for it – immigration was responsible for half the astounding 470,000 increase in population. Gasp! Who knew? (if you didn’t figure it out already, I’m being sarcastic).
( More writing group stuff. The theme was “losing” – duh)
The wind tore at her face, filling her nostrils with sharp wisps of air and threatening to flood her lungs at a much too hasty rate. She was falling fast and hard and yet her thoughts did not dwell on the possible catastrophic ending ahead of her. No, her mind was strangely free of any worries. She had never felt this way before, devoid of any concern for what was coming. Her life had always been one of caution as she always felt a need to control the outcome of what was happening to and around her, but now everything was completely out of her hands. Five hundred feet up in the air, she had no choice but to let go.
The overwhelming sense of elation came, not just from the simple action of freefalling, but from the thought that this was entirely different from anything she would have fathomed doing under normal circumstances. Her actions were usually muted, her life sheltered. Ever since she could remember, she had been painfully shy and reserved, always politely refusing any new ventures that had even an inkling of excitement attached to them. She couldn’t think of any reason why she had turned out that way, no childhood traumas or life changing epiphanies to tell of, nothing. She had just been born that way. She finally accepted that most people thought she was boring and strange. And then she met Sam. Continue reading