Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Diving child

A child dives out of its mother's arms and heads headfirst for the concrete path at her feet.
She catches her by the ankles just as she is about to re-arrange her brains on a busy city street.
The child goes over the mother's shoulder in this manoeuvre. The tall slim mother catches the falling ankle, sight unseen.
I say: it was close; she says yes and laughs; someday I will miss.
Are you circus people, I ask; no she says it's just something she likes to do.
This she says as if her flying daughter is a household cat that likes to wrap itself around her ankles at night.
I look at the child whose eyes are aged beyond reason.
She was here before it seems and perhaps was an acrobat who used to swing upside down and view the world from there.
Hello I say to the child; she smiles and turns her head away, bored of the ages-old question.
Who are you and why do you do that.
Why not; she would say if she was old enough to speak; but she is not and the conversation with her mother is impossible to resume.
There is little else to say to a pair of falling women on a busy street.
I move on, and try not to stumble on the cracked pavement.
Storytelling here

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

It says in this letter

I know a man who can neither read nor write but who watches television and listens to radio to keep up his end of the conversation.
He knows I know he cannot read and since his last parent is dead and he has no siblings nor sweetheart he asks me to read his post for him.
I tell him what the letters say and leave him to deal with them.
He pays all bills through the bank on-time and never receives cut-off notices.

But he would also fight with his shadow, me excepted.
So, when he shows me a note from his doctor to a mind specialist he is to go see, I demur.
But he insists, saying he does not trust his family doctor and what he says about him.
The letter says, when I read it to myself, that he is an obstreperous man given to sudden fits of anger and as a doctor his GP passes the information to the other in a spirit of caution.
I tell him it is just a note to the specialist.
He says: he dug the pen into the paper he says more than that, what is it?
I say his doctor told the new doctor to treat him with respect and to listen to him.
He says: Honest?
I lie and say: Honest.
He puts the letter back in his coat pocket and walks away, he says thanks.
Storytelling here

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Wardrobe malfunction

Most of the time we are invisible. Nobody pays attention to us, unless we skip the queue; when feral reaction kicks in.
A man seeks attention for himself by wearing odd shoes in public.
For privacy and peace of mind he wears matching shoes.
Then, he matches a nice left-footed brogue to a scruffy right-footed trainer underneath a natty suit.
People step to one side when he comes along the street with a smile on his face. Some ask if his foot has been in an accident?
But; they are the adventurers; those who want to know something they do not already know.
Others shuffle away in bus lines and supermarket checkouts when he taps the toes of the brogue, while standing still. Once, he stepped out of his shoes and walked home barefooted. Nobody touched his empty shoes for ages.
Nobody likes the odd, outside of the circus.
He sometimes confides that his wardrobe has malfunctioned and he forgot the code to open the dressing room in his mansion for other footwear.
Do I look odd, he asks, no they say not at all, wondering why they have no such security on their wardrobe.
Storytelling here

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

A fallen man

Not everybody lying on a city street is dead.
I exit a 300-year-old city centre building, with other people, following a meeting.
We are in that laguna where you just want to walk away from these people until the next time; but are compelled to make small talk, at least until a city bus arrives.
The man's head faces the door and we have a clear view of his untied shoes at the extremity of his body.
He's dead, someone says. No, he's only sleeping, says another.
Kick him in the belly, to see what happens, says the man in the blue suit who said nothing at all at the meeting; but who wants to say something now, so we know he was present.
I walk around to the man's shoes and see his belly is rising and falling with life.
I press his shoe where his big toe should be.
He wakes up and asks what happened; he fell asleep in the sun sitting on the step waiting for a delayed bus.

I have started to tie his lace in an absent minded way because that is what I did with my children, lest they fall over.
I look up and the man is embarrassed at having another man tying his laces on a city street in the summer heat; but these things happen when you are waiting for a bus to take you away and the meeting is over.
Storytelling here