Two old ladies shuffle down the street in front of me. Tiny and shriveled as they are, they some how take up the entire footpath.
I cannot get past them, the distance between the two means its completely impossible for me to walk between them nor around them, except to try my luck and dance around via the road of bustling mid morning traffic.
I’m stuck and abdicate my pace, dawdling along behind, following the slow measure in which they’ve set, hoping for a break in traffic or widening of thoroughfare.
They chat about long suffering third persons that I can’t believe – are as bad as the two explain.
Can I clarify here that there was absolutely nothing out of the ordinary this particular morning. I was of sound mood, and other than caffeine, free from concern or enhancement of any kind.
I round the two old chook s up and arrive at my own stride, happy to assume the journey at my pace.
And then it happens.
I can only describe it as if I was suddenly and without any warning nor sign, enveloped in some shrouded transport to another shore.
Well maybe its better to explain as not so much as leaving one shore – but to arrive at something, or somewhere else.
Yet this strange shore – physically – is nothing different to the land I have inadvertently departed.
The sudden realisation of – entering the new – departure of the old – burns my mind.
I’m unclear of motive or source, yet for reasons unknown, absolutely certain that I now walk a very different road. As to the produce of this new epoch I now stand in? I hate to think.
I’m completely adsorbed by all this right here on the street as I stand! The receiving of a blinding realisation – yet equally baffled by the absurdity that this awareness delivers.
Over and over in my mind a neon sign is blinking “what just happened, what just happened, what just happened…”
I try and gather myself together and shiver as if my grave is laid apon a dance floor. I attempt to rejoin my journey and in doing so I notice an ache somewhere deep in my bones that I’m unfamiliar of.
A man across the road who is dishevelled and haggard stops completely from his struggling way and stares across the abyss-like street at me with out movement or emotion. How can It be seen at this distance that his eyes are as dense and cold as black marble?
I assess some more this odd reality that seems to have befallen me, looking around at the non de-script anomalies that I’m convinced are now everywhere.
The old ladies have now caught up, they almost stop to make of me what they will. I hear them talking in tones under breath as they briefly look back for one more inquiry. Feeling a pang of maternal need as I watch them continue down the street. What has just happened?..Ladies?
I have absolutely no idea – looking at my hands, they seem dry and foreign – I hardly recognised them. My chest labors. I’m feeling out of sync and in everyone’s way – people walk past me, brushing into me – a guy – in a suit bumps into me and I swear I hear him hiss something at me as we connect.
I need to sit down – but can’t focus on making a decision on what to do. People in windows peer down at me, drawing curtains to a close. My mind was clear, I felt confident, focused and fit not but three minutes ago.
WHAT THE HELL JUST HAPPENED?
Seeing steps that lead up to a old beaten landing and door I take refuge, sitting myself down heavily on the stained concrete. my jeans irritates my skin causes an annoying itch and is if looking out through skin prison bars I look at my new found world and continue to evaluate.
The smell of rotten garbage rises up in the morning sun from the overflowing bins next to the step, a taste of bile is hinted at in my dry throat. The noise of the traffic seems to be building to some type of climax according to my ears which ring tinnitus-like. Feeling the weight of my phone pressing against my leg, a slight sense of hope and normality rushes up my spine, pulling it out of my pocket the dire warning of an empty battery flashed before a dead black screen has the final say.
A flash of anger rips across my skin, I lash out kicking at the corner of the stinking bin. This rattles loose a bottle which is third full of old warm beer – as it rolls along the top of the bin – the bottle dispenses its fetid contents over the front of my pants in a precise neat pour.
The pungent reek of days old alcohol is offensive as I dance about looking for something to soak up its stain.
Stepping forward again I return to my journey and pretend nothing has happened. Blanking out the recent incidents and concentrating on my role as a normal man going about his business.
I make him out quite a distance off, well dressed, fit, mid to late 60’s in age. Amid the bustling street fare he is completely still, staring directly at me . I must imagine it – as he was at such a distance, but his eyes seem black as coal, It could not be denied.
As sometimes the case maybe – perhaps it was elsewhere beyond where I stand – that garnered the attention of those black orbs so cold.
Some occurrence of interest behind me perhaps?
A friend he awaits?
Looking behind to see for myself – it concerns me that no one is within at least sixty to seventy meters from where I stand. I’m equally spooked by the conclusion that it is I that is the target of his attention and the apparent lack of people there now appeared to be.
Had it not been a mid morning inner city street of daily lives that I just bustled though?
But as I observe the street some more it becomes apparent that its not a lack of people – so much that is odd – its a lack of something else.
I battle with the indication of a lack of, well mass, of substance.
Its as if the street’s “aggregate ” has been diluted, or has become a lighter composition?
The term “watered down” appears in my mind describing this observation. Blinking and staring, I catch my mouth agape. A most peculiar inference to come too, one in which I have no experience of dealing with before, and it leave’s me with a most uneasy feeling.
I have maybe twenty meters and then cross a busy intersection before another twenty odd paces would find me at the foot of the dead eyed stranger.
Why don’t I just cross to the left and avoid this aberration? Has this day become strange enough less fuel the odds of further strange encounters?
I veer to the left at the intersection and await the lights to take me across the other side of the street and hopefully this action will be the last vestige of unexplained occurrences I see.
He stares. I await the lights to change, happy to be facing 90 degree’s away from his stare.
I reflect on the absurdity of situation that I now find myself in and find a kernel of humour in this plate of events that I now peer and prod at in my minds eye. I find myself making light of how I have been most unnerved by what has gone on this morning – and if you really look at it – very little has happened!
Perhaps it can all be put down to the fact I maybe feeling a little off colour lately. I haven’t been sleeping that well.
Recently getting a nights sleep feels like it involves heading off to some foreign chapter of war. Late night dispatch s to a distant outpost. I perch apon the bench of my military transport, lay my helmet on my rucksack and head off for service. I see action in this other world, strange bureaucratic episodes involving air line administration, walking down office corridors making deals with middle management, tennis games amongst gardens of mid-aged women.
Deep blue twilight flashes of recognition haunt me during the day, a glimmer of emotion or peek of a scene startle me during my days going-ons. Micro re-runs of last nights dream that seem as ever real as the situation which they find and visit me at.
The lights seem to dwell on red for an eternity, as the wait goes on more people crowd the kerb waiting to cross, feeling flustered again as I seem to be in the way, my toes are stepped on, a back pack rotates around in front of me, scrapping my face.
The green light finally relieves us onto the road. Out of safety I surge in front as to keep away from the other pedestrians, as I reach the other kerb, an almost escalator-like anxiety builds as I try to negate the highish kerb, somehow failing, I stumble and feel myself lurching momentarily through space, landing on my knees and output hands that act as some kind of flesh landing gear.
I feel the hot salty burns of skin off my hands as they took the weight and momentum along the rough asphalt footpath.
The other pedestrians avoid me slightly as they just pass by. The flush of embarrassment and child like anger wells in my face.
The red pot marks in the palms of my hands fill with little shiny balls of blood.
The first thing I notice is his curious type of what could only be described as technology.
It appeared to be some type of communications device, yet a type completely foreign to me. There is a slight sense of military uniform about what he was wearing, yet it appeared quite casual. This duality perhaps comes from the sports attire finish of the utility pants and expensive cut of the shirt. His black lensed sunglasses were slightly orotund and they appeared to be looking directly my way.
I’m still on one knee dusting myself off with bleeding palms. Startled by his presence now standing over me, I become aware of the stale beer smell emanating up from my jeans.
“Your having quite the morning ?”
The tone imparted that he is also aware of the fetid smell………
to be continued…