THE CLASHING ROCKS
The path is narrowing.
This isn’t good.
Nothing good ever comes of a tightened walkway.
It’s a harbinger of pedestrian disarray.
It paves the way for a madness most cutthroat and callous.
A busy road to my left.
Shops and offices to my right.
There is scarcely room to breathe.
But the way is clear.
It is free of obstruction.
The air is thick.
It is humid.
Yet despite my saturation, I am determined to maintain this pace.
Nothing can stop me.
Nothing will stop me.
There is nothing in my way.
I am free.
Nothing can befoul my stride.
A deceivingly sharp turn is revealing my greatest fear.
And in an instant, everything is ruined.
And I am filled with immeasurable bitterness.
There is a bus stop.
And there is a figure.
A figure of ignorance.
Arrogance made manifest.
Not literally, I am maintaining a furious pace.
And my mind is overcome with icy nerve and a war-like resolve.
How could it do this to me?
How is this happening?
And why now?
Everything is falling apart.
I trip on an uneven paving slab and my anger explodes.
A surge of savage rage.
I am realising that all is not yet lost.
The figure isn’t blocking the entire way.
It is standing to the left, by the bus stop.
I notice a gap between it and the buildings to the right.
As it stands, I could escape through there.
With relative ease.
I feel the excited urge to increase my pace.
I can’t let this go.
I can’t miss this opportunity.
It is my only lifeline.
I’m drawing nearer, and I’ve noticed it has its back to me.
It hasn’t seen me.
It doesn’t know I’m here.
This is good.
But also problematic.
Makes it unpredictable.
Difficult to anticipate.
I can feel a ravenous urgency building within me.
I just need to make it past.
I need to make it past before it moves.
I need to do so without eye contact.
Without physical contact.
Without interaction of any kind.
I’m getting closer.
And my angst is building.
It still has its back to me.
If it stays this way for the next 30 seconds or so we’ll be fine.
I am closer still.
I notice it takes its hand out of its pocket.
It tucks its hair behind its right ear.
And its head turns to the right slightly.
And then more definitely.
It has noticed something.
Something in the window has caught its attention.
Its body turns.
Its feet shift slightly.
Don’t you dare move.
I’m a matter of metres away.
And my pace is unrelenting.
It still hasn’t noticed my approach.
I realise that it is wearing thick glasses.
Its peripheral vision may be obscured.
This could work to my advantage.
If it makes no sudden movements.
But I need to tread carefully.
I can see now that it is looking into a shop window.
I’m now barely a few feet away.
But it stands, transfixed.
My escape is almost within touching distance.
And the mounting tension is insufferable.
It still hasn’t moved.
I’m now at the point of no return.
I could reach out and touch it.
It’s now or never.
This could actually work!
I take my chance.
I breathe in.
As I step forward to align with it, it strides across my path.
A cruel and provocative move!
Poised all along.
Just waiting for me.
Like a motionless house spider.
Launching into a frenzied scuttle when provoked.
We both panic.
It has stepped right across me, closer to the window.
It closes the gap and shatters my chances.
And the way is closed.
I flinch as it blocks my way.
I veer off to the left.
It too flinches.
Alarmed by my sudden presence.
It steps back towards the bus stop.
Thus blocking me.
And the crash is awful.
We collide spectacularly.
Beyond all imagination.
I hurtle into its side.
Like a car into a wall.
The force of the impact throws my head back.
Is this whiplash?
I feel my body strain as I struggle to maintain my balance.
It’s jacket is crinkling like smashed aluminium.
Flustered and regaining control, the figure turns to me.
It brushes its hair aside.
Adjusts its glasses.
And locks its cold eyes on mine.
I notice its lips part.
It speaks to me.
I can’t think straight.
And my heart is racing.
My vision is blurred.
How has this happened?!
I had everything worked out.
Now all is lost.
Yet I can feel my lips and cheeks move.
To my horror, they are lifting.
Into an anguished grimace.
And I can feel something rising in my throat.
I think I’m going to be sick.
But something is feeling different.
It isn’t sick.
And I don’t think it’s indigestion either.
Whatever it is, it is ascending rapidly.
It’s in my mouth.
I can feel it dancing on my tongue.
It wants to come out.
Don’t do it.
My lips are opening.
Stop, please- hold it in!
My tormented smile is growing.
Come on, you don’t need to do this.
It widens further as my mouth now opens.
Think about this.
Don’t do something you’ll regret.
Don’t say something you can’t take back.
I mean it!
It’s not worth it!