|There has been no trace of|
Malaysian Airlines flight MH370.
|Somewhere near Oz is a place where all |
lost socks hang out
I think, if people can believe in God or fate, then why not aliens? And why can we not think that something can disappear, when we know that disappearing is proven by the ever-presence of The Lost Sock Syndrome?
|Portrait of a Dad|
Only three months ago he tried to help me in the garden. I was collecting an old travel trunk full of my diaries
|The trunk belonged to Mr Saunders |
next door who would pay me
fifty pence to mow his lawn.
In the book shop where I work I stopped a man this week who I believed was a thief. I am on tenterhooks because someone had stolen the shop iPod earlier in the week and there seemed to be a greater proportion of drunk and drugged up people at 10am roaming Crystal Palace than usual. Once I started examining people, everyone who was a bit thin and pale started to look like a thief. The suspect is dressed in a grey hoodie, worn unwashed jeans, dirty and dusty scuffed sand boots. As I followed him around the shop I didn't know whether my behaviour was causing his behaviour. He looked at every section of the bookshop while trying to look as if he was just browsing. I stood so close to him he left. My heart banged after and I thought, 'I can do this, I can be brave.'
Later on a different man came in troubled by drugs. A fresh scab on his nose, the pale demeanour, another grey hoodie with the front pocket kangaroo pouch, faded jeans, dirty trainers. I am showing a woman a book on British colloquialisms. She has a slight foreign accent which I can't place and says she wants a book on sayings for a friend who had said to her that morning, 'as sure as eggs are eggs.' We are talking about how neither of us knows where the expression comes from. It is the first pleasant and interesting intercourse of my day. Her little girl is standing with us so silently that you could forget she is there.
The man walks round the bookshelves and comes to stand directly next to me, the distance of someone next to you on a packed tube.
'Where is the Salvation Army?' he asks.
'Where is the Salvation Army?' he says. I repeat my answer.
'How many shops?'
'Four shops.' I say. 'Walk four shops up and it's there by Sainsbury's.'
I switch sides with the woman to get away from him. I am aware the child is closest to him now. The woman does not move herself or her child. I wonder if I am over-reacting.
'Where is the Salvation Army?' he repeats, each time with the same insistent urgency.
We go on like this for ten or so more times. His short term memory broken.
The woman with the accent says, 'I will take you there. Come.' She beckons him.
'You're not speaking the Queen's English,' he says.
'Where is the Salvation Army?' he says, turning to me.
I walk backwards towards the counter.
'I can not say it again,' I say. 'Nothing has changed since the last time.'
'You're not speaking the Queen's English,' he accuses me.
'You're Polish,' he says.
I will not say I am from around here as it will insinuate that the woman with the accent is not. He will not make me defend myself or herself. He steps forwards. He is wanting something from me, his fists are clenched in his hoodie pouch pockets. They are starting to shake, the knuckles through the cloth. I pick up an empty cardboard box, inside it is space and it puts a box worth of room between us. I have the key to the till in my bra cup. He stands there, 'Where is the Salvation Army?'
I hold the box up. The woman with the accent calls on a man from the street to help. We are trying to alert him without increasing the anger in the drug addict. I can say this is all he is at the moment, because there is nothing else about him - he is all drug and itching anger. He has no human face, because he is off it.
|You can depend on X = X|
And I am still here, silently not knowing what to do.
'Where is the Salvation Army?' he says, edging closer.
'Come with me!' The German woman gets him to walk up the road with her to the Salvation Army.
I stand in the shop shaking then go to watch them go up the road together. He walks into the doorway of Salvation Army after turning back to her with a sneery smile on his face.
She comes back and buys the book on British Colloquialisms and we look it up:
'As sure as eggs are eggs' possibly comes from the mathematical expressions 'X equals X'
I am glad that there is some certainty to the day after all, even if it is a mental sum.