Saturday, 18 January 2014


So there she goes, tracking one intact heel across cold damp pavement like a stylus across a record at the wrong speed, a chirpy pop song about nights of music and boys and fun turned into a lurching lullaby figuring it can afford to lament on too many doubles and mixers, too many ill-thought dance steps, floors too inconsistent in their texture leading to that fateful snap, broken heel, vodka and diet coke soaking through yesterday's dress bought in preparation for tonight's Big Night.

Blonde hair, stylish, with curls down past the jawline but matted in places by uneven hair spray application and eye makeup run panda-like around blood red eye whites and green irises from too much sweat, too many tears of laughter and maybe at one point rejection? Limbs hummed four four basslines from hours of music that all danced to a uniform beat. Friends left behind and still drinking the last minutes of Saturday night away, blissfully unaware of the drudgery of having to work shifts, scratch that, just unaware of work on every other Sunday before any kind of stupor induced privilege reared its incoherent head.Therefore, it was a common night, as common as any other and so just as damp, just as grey. 

Snippets of conversations perforated her eardrum like buckshot fired indiscriminately, catching the attention of the wrong person each time and so bottles are thrown like Model 24s from pavement to pavement, the road in between being already full of potholes taking on the appearance of a no-man's land in the corner of Kate's eye and now she's deciding whether to go prone and crawl until the volley from the German trenches is over.

Tenuously this line of thought leads her to believe that, maybe, amongst the British casualties she'll find her very own Owen or Sassoon, a soldier with the heart of a lover, a poet she can rescue from the trenches and retire to the countryside with as God Save the Queen peals out from village church bells over the hill to the east of their beautiful cottage as various cats and dogs languidly salute the cresting summer sun with a succession of stretches and yawns.

But as soon as that appealing vision of mid century bliss has bubbled to the surface like so many dreams coalescing together in the centre of a head of foam on a pint of beer she neglected during an ill-fated date last week, or the month before, or maybe even years ago, it's burst and as she's stooped in imaginary trenches she's hit by a burst of cold taut air as a double-decker hurtles past temporarily calling a ceasefire via the sheer brute force of steel and plexiglass, an all too corporeal forcefield being played upon by bursting bottles resulting in showers of beer, cider, budget brand alcopops and what she's sure is an uncommonly expensive bottle of a house red being thrown by who exactly in the crowd that can afford such wasteful aggression?A sprightly old man in vaudeville top hat and tails disappearing behind hollering students and men with sweaty red faces, hair gelled in spikes as sparse as trees in winter, salmon shirts and boot-cut jeans? It's all a blur and Kate tries to level out, internal spirit level currently hung with a “out to lunch” sign as she slurs “what time izzit?” as previous ballistics are replaced with an impromptu five a side match in the middle of no-man's land, bus bottling hijinks finally dissolving tensions between axis and allies at least long enough for interest in violence to wane as shares in kicking a leaky bottle of discount cider around are reaching unforecasted altitudes.

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