Thursday, 9 June 2011

The meeting

London Bridge train station,
Saturday, 12:20pm.

His head softly dipped,
ducking beneath the enormity of the world.
His hands, sinking deep
into the pockets of his winter coat,
he was waiting.
Waiting for me.
Surrounded by craning necks,
quick feet and luggage.
he looked lost.
His eyes sank deep
into the face of childhood summers,
his face, just 7-days older than my own,
it carried the weight of both our years.

He was surviving on
a fiver a day.
"You can't do anything for a fiver",
he said,
Handing over a scrumpled note
to the man at the kiosk.
The man handed him a mini-A to Z,
an a penny.
"you might have to buy me a cup of tea,"
he said.


He told me that he'd resisted
at first.
He had pulled, and pushed
as they grabbed at him,
dragging him down,
until he gave in.
He let them sedate him.
His eyes said,
You win.

The cell was padded,
for discomfort.
the jacket fitted,
just a little too tight.
The isolation extinguished
his will to fight.


"all of the children I've ever had",
he said,
"have been aborted."

"The irony is," he said,
taking a long drag
from his pre-rolled fag,
That he'd pulled from a tin,
containing his daily ration.

"The irony is, that I spent
the past three years,
getting off the drink,
and the drugs."

His fingertips were yellowed
and a thin line of black dirst outlined each nail.
His eyes, pink with searching,
looked into mine.
With a slow exhale,
30 years of truth
streamed along
the smokey trail between us.

"The irony is," he said,
"that I'd given up smoking completely,
and now, thanks to the NHS,
I'm addicted to cigarettes,
and I'm taking drugs every day."

He laughed.
It was a wicked laugh.
A laugh that had egged me on,
many times.
We both laughed.
It was a laugh we shared,
a laugh that could get us into trouble.
Little devils.
We laughed,
and his eyes lit up,
shooting a sunbeam
into me,
and out accross
the still,
January afternoon.
The City,
St Pauls,
The river,
The footbridge.
They all stood still,
In that moment
basking in his light.
                            © 2010 Lily LaLoba

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