24th April 2014
Are you still following me?
Someone is following me.
We are a crowd of millions separated by concrete walls.
Every day I watch the same people from the estate at the bus stop, and the same people on the bus on my way to and from work. They never talk to each other or interact in any way that I can see, but they are all part of this crowd. They are as familiar to me as anyone alive, but I have never spoken a word to any of them.
Tonight I was painting a self portrait, but occasionally I would look out of the window down to the bus stop and there was a kid waiting there, a girl of maybe 11 or 12. I watched her for a long time. Buses came and went but she didn’t get on to any of them. At some point mid evening I must have dozed off because I woke up several hours later in darkness.
Anyone will tell you that in the city there is no such thing as silence, there is always a soundtrack, whether it’s the hiss of a train in the distance, next door’s TV, or the hum of the central heating. But tonight I can hear nothing, just a heavy claustrophobic silence. I check the clock, 3.25am. I make my way to the bedroom, but as I do I pass the window and glance out. The girl is still there, alone now. Only now she seems to be gazing back at me, across the hundred yards or so from the bus stop to my window. The room is dark so there is no way she can see me, but still I know she is staring at me. Not around me, or vaguely in my direction, but directly through my eyes, deep into my turbulent soul.