Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Early Riser

London at 5:00 on Saturday mornings seems like a more contented place. Long lazy shadows stretch out across the empty streets and the stores are all still sleeping: their eyelid shutters down and their chairs all nicely tucked in. The bus doors yawn to let a lone pair of feet step inside, and the pigeons sit all plump and puffed out on window ledges: even the crumbs haven’t arrived yet. The tubes zip along like athletes in their prime, unweighed down by the oversized, fidgety human meals they usually lug along inside their bellies. You can hear every clunk and squeak the train makes along its way: the little noises aren’t muffled by newspaper pages turning or the tinny sound of music in countless white earphones. Even the two people you pass on the street give you a knowing smile as you walk by, like you’re sharing a secret: that sometimes the best time to be out is after the nights and the beers and the high heels and the leering looks and the chandeliers and the sushi trains and the pub peanuts and the rambling conversations and the sprigs of mint in mojitos and the yellow lights on black taxis and the swaying queues and the kebab shops are all over.


Julien said...

A more contented place is what you need, am I right ? And winks with accomplices in a strange kind of lifestyle, that's something else you need. I have this feeling sometimes too - not in Brussels, because I can't help but sleeping late as much as I can, but anytime I wander in Venice in January between midnight and... 5:00.

Let me add that, not only your single paragraph makes me more conscious of the long road I still have to drive before I can pretend to be an English-penned writer, but also... well, this looks like the perfect introduction to a story. Despite its inherent quality as a standalone, I could imagine this short text to be the opening of a novel. Like the first chapter of Valis, for example.

(this is a Chinese fingertrap : now that you thought about it, you can't get out of it).

Sarah said...

Well, I do like the bustling nature of London sometimes. It's the hectic nature of the place that makes me appreciate the slices of contentedness when I come across them. Quiet spaces in busy towns, typically overcrowded places at undercrowded hours...

You claiming to have a long way to go before writing stories in English is sort of like when I meet CSers with English as a second language and they say to me: 'Please accept my deepest apologies for the dire state of my English. I have been working on it tirelessly, but it's quite a bewildering language to master: full of nonsensical spelling combinations and puzzling pronunciations. I should be very surprised if you can understand anything at all from this abstruse concoction of near-guesses I am currently battering you with...'