It's the twelfth of August, or maybe it's the thirteenth, and I wake up in Balham, Greater London. And I'm staring at the joint where the wall reaches the ceiling, just staring.
And my phone rings, and it's been ringing continuously since seven am. And eventually I give in,get out of bed, walk over to it. It's a number I don't recognised. And a conversation I don't recognise entails. A solicitor.
I'm wearing a Royal Blue JW Polo, 2008, with cream shorts which have blue pin stripe detail and Camel moccasins, which are actually slippers, but who's to know. And I'm this road in Balham, in the suburbs of London, somewhere near a polish church and I'm not really sure where I'm going. I just kind of walk into the morning light. The air, cool yet close and somewhat Autumnal for this time of year. Balham to Warren.
And at the bank I catch my reflection in the ATM whilst I'm entering my pin, or trying to, and I look...fresh...if you discount the shadow under my eyes, the redness of the right, and uneven tone of my rosed skin. Fresh enough for three hours sleep.
Six, four, four, zero. Declined.
And I've done this twice, so I try another ATM, and eventually it gives in and lets me use it. And I withdraw two hundred pounds. And then I use the ATM next to the one that gives in, and withdraw another two hundred. And then I'm approached by what I can only assume is a Maitre'd of the bank? And I tell him, 'I need more'. And pretty soon my Tote is full of twenty pound notes counted and held by red sleeves. And they cant take this.
And as I emerge from Bond Street my phone rings, and I answer it not really listening. And I head to Ralph Lauren, but only make it as far as Hanover Square before it starts to rain. And I tell the person on the other end, mother? That they cant take all they want from her, but they'll never take it from me, and that it's in a tote bag, underneath the bench on which I'm sitting. And droplets stain patches of the maroon fabric deep red as they fall from the canopy. And a man lifts weights in the open air, and a taxi drives past an old couple from the East End, and I feel free.