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He feels the pressure of opposition, and he has to go somewhere, get off the street. Anywhere will do, as long as it’s quiet. A quiet interior. He walks around, looking for the right kind of place, all the while feeling as if there’s something in his chest about to fly out screaming. He finds a hall. It’s unlocked, no people inside, just him.  It’s like a community hall. That sort of thing. It doesn’t really matter. It smells like a primary school. That smell, of children, thirty or so of them breathing in and out at the same time and filling the air with their sticky breaths. Primary school. That’s a good memory.

It’s subdued in the hall, mellow and airy. Not silent though, but that’s alright. The traffic outside, you can hear its hum and its throb. In a way it’s reassuring to know that everything is going on beyond and that none of it is touching him in here. He grabs a chair from a stack and sits in a corner. If someone comes and says something, he’ll say he was feeling unwell and came in to recover. He wouldn’t really be lying.

Dust motes in a shaft of sun. He starts to breathe in the peace with a slow simple rhythm. His chest loosens. His body feels steady. Is this calmness? he wonders. But how long will it last? Things like this, they usually end too soon. Silence, for example, is always about to be shattered. A piece of music fades, or shuts off. Stories break off. Things end, in their way. The thought makes him feel rushed, as if he has to grab at the moment.

He shuts his eyes. Maybe sleep, then. Try to doze. Perhaps that’s the answer. Often he does this, comes to places like this. It works, mostly. And when it doesn’t, it doesn’t. But that’s okay. It’s okay, because mostly it works.

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4 thoughts on “

  1. mmmccaffrey

    I like the combination of third person and second person singular. Terrific. We all know the feeling of wanting to find the ‘right kind of place’.

  2. Helen McDonald

    Things end, in their way. Love that Barry. This is great. Love to talk about switching to second person singular at our next meeting xxx

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