Story: Do You See?
Read by: Jennifer Williams
First appeared in: Myth-understandings (Newcon Press)
File size: 26mb
We didn’t speak. Not at first. Not for a long time. But then, London’s like that sometimes, isn’t it? Thousands of people occupying the same few miles, sitting on the same buses day in and day out on their way to wherever, recognizing the faces but never giving more than perhaps a nod and a grunt of recognition. It just isn’t done, talking to strangers. Not when you’re a grown up.
So that’s how it was. At first the bench was solely my own, as it had been for years. I had probably become almost invisible to the regular visitors to the children’s play area in Paddington Street Gardens, as if I were maybe a statue that they saw so often it faded out of their immediate vision, creating space for newer and more exciting colours and shapes.
I remained constant and it was they that changed; a rotation of children who toddled and then grew and then grew too big for the pleasures of swings and slides and cold hands in mittens. I didn’t mind. It was good to see new chubby faces, flushed red in the cold and screaming for five minutes more when their frozen mothers and nannies and occasionally fathers told them it was time to leave, stamping their feet into the hard concrete path, trying to batter warmth back into them before starting the walk back to their various homes with numb toes.