An Hour of Observing

There’s a hell here, hidden. Ask anyone: they won’t know. It’s hidden. That’s how it works. Have there been bodies here? Possibly, probably. You find them everywhere. You find them with the crash and the boom of things, the way that events pile up. Mostly I don’t like to look too closely, not any more. Too often I’ll see things. I shuffle my feet to make sure my suitcase is still at my side. I don’t want to lose that.

The man on the bench over there isn’t moving. I’m not watching him though – that’d be a mistake, I’m sure. I’m only here in this little park to eat my lunch. I say park, but it’s not even. It’s more of a big garden, more of a quadrangle. Dull grey slabs and grass. Steel tubing benches. Lunch in plastic. It’s like an old fashioned future. You wouldn’t expect that there’s a gate to another world around the corner.

Try not to think about things. It just gets confusing, and you end up wanting to look away. That guy’s still not moving. I don’t want to look over, but my eyes always seem to betray me. You sometimes get homeless people here. Bums, I guess. I’ve eaten here before. That bloody gate. Why do I always end up here?

The sandwich is disappearing one bite at a time. It’ll soon be gone, and with it my lunch hour. Then it’s back to it. Another afternoon at the grind. Back through the gate and into the city. And again tomorrow. And again. I laugh at the message on the church wall. Here’s no place to run, and the time’s the only thing you have to try and escape, even as you cling on.

I stand up and walk over to one of the metal trash cans, dropping the sandwich wrapper inside. That man’s still still. I look over at him, properly this time, I want to make sure he really hasn’t moved. He hasn’t. It looks like the morning’s job has been done properly after all. I check my pockets, making sure that I’ve not left my keys of wallet on the bench. I ‘d hate to have to come back.

It’s a bright, crisp day, and the wind is blowing in from the sea. Screaming parrots on the wing overhead. I take another look and walk back toward the street, to the city, and the gate.

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Douglas Noble was born in Scotland and grew up all wrong. Don't blame his parents though, they tried their best.

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