No 18 - September 2002
What Have You Done?
It is hot. The trees are green. The sky is blue.
He stands in the garden. He looks at the grass. The grass has turned yellow in the sun.
It is hot. He takes the jumper off. He folds the jumper over his arm.
He decides to sit down. He looks round the garden. He walks to the trees. He sits down on the yellow grass in the shade of the trees. He leans back against a tree.
He looks round the garden.
A bee is flying in and out of flowers In the flowerbed.
A crow is standing on the wire fence above the flowerbed.
The garden is very bright. It is hot.
The crow flies off.
He puts the jumper on the grass beside him.
He closes his eyes.
From time to time there is the sound of a car passing along the road.
From time to time there is the sound of the breeze blowing in the treetops.
It is hot.
He opens his eyes. The garden is very bright. The bee has disappeared.
He closes his eyes. He listens again.
In the distance there is the sound of music and singing.
He listens. In the distance there is the sound of music and singing. He listens to the music and singing. The music and singing become clearer. He continues to listen.
He listens. The music and singing come from the direction of the road.
It is hot. He opens his eyes. The garden is very bright. There is music and singing. He looks in the direction of the road.
The garden is very bright. He stands up. The jumper is left sitting on the yellow grass.
He walks across the garden. He walks to the trees that separate the garden from the road. It is cooler close to the trees in the shade of the house. There is the smell of pine.
He lifts the branch out of the way. He looks out onto the road.
The road is full of people. There are many people. The people wear blue jeans. The people wear white t-shirts. Some of the people carry blue and white flags. Some of the people carry musical instruments. The band plays. The people sing.
The road is full of music and singing. Children come out of the houses. The children stand in the gardens or on the pavement and they watch the march pass. The parents watch from the windows.
The march passes. A police van follows at the end. It is followed by a long queue of cars.
The parents disappear from the windows. The children stay in the gardens and on the pavement. They start playing in the sun.
He lets the branch fall back into place. He walks back across the garden. He walks back across the heat of the garden to the jumper sitting on the yellow grass. He sits down. He leans back against the tree.
They are handing out leaflets at the entrance to the shopping centre. There are four of them. A man and a woman stand on the right of the entrance. A man and a woman stand on the left of the entrance. The men and the women wear blue jeans. The men and the women wear white t-shirts. They are smiling. They chat to the shoppers.
He walks past the shops. It is hot. He sweats. There are many people.
In the distance there is the sound of music. The music comes from the direction of the central square of the shopping centre.
He turns the corner. The square is full of sunlight. The square is full of people.
Men and women dance in the sunlight in the square. They raise their hands in the air. They wave their hands in time to the music. They smile and laugh. The sun shines on their faces.
Shoppers stand round the edges of the square. The shoppers watch the dancing. Some shoppers clap their hands in time to the music. Some shoppers tap their feet. Two security guards in green uniforms watch with their arms folded. Two police officers in short-sleeved white shirts watch from one corner.
It is midday. The sunlight falls into the square.
The music comes from a stand to one side of the square. A blue and white flag is attached to each corner of the stand. The flags hang limp.
The song starts to fade out. The DJ makes an announcement as another song starts in the background. She thanks everyone for coming. She says that it is a beautiful day. She states that she now wants everyone to join in. She wants to see everyone dancing.
The music fills the square.
The dancers in blue and white move into the crowd. They begin to pull people into the centre of the square. The men pull women into the square. The women pull men into the square.
A woman approaches him. She has blonde hair and blue eyes. She takes his hand. She smiles at him.
“Come and dance,” she says, pulling him into the square.
“I can’t dance.” he says, following her.
“Yes you can,” she says, smiling.
“You have grass stuck to your jumper.” She releases one hand. She picks the blade of grass from his jumper. She drops it on the ground.
She smiles up at him again. They are in the square. She raises her hands. She raises her hands in the air. She smiles at him. There are dark patches on her t-shirt under her arms.
She begins to dance.
The square is full of people dancing.
He goes into the TV shop to cool down. He is sweating from the dancing. He feels wet under his armpits. He takes off the jumper and folds it over his arm.
Several televisions are on in the shop. The news is on. There is film of the marchers. There are pictures of marches taking place all over the country. The marchers wear blue jeans and white t-shirts. There is film of the marchers singing. There is film of the marchers dancing.
One of the marchers is interviewed. The sound on all the televisions is turned down. Her words cannot be heard.
It is hot. There is no breeze. He waits at the bus stop.
There is a woman. The woman has many lines on her face. The eyes are small. The eyes move from side to side. She wears black boots. She wears black leggings. She wears a grey coat. The coat is dirty. The lining hangs out from the bottom.
The woman talks quietly to herself.
The bus stops. The door opens. Two people get out.
The woman steps in. She puts her hand in the pocket of the coat. She brings out a handful of sweets. She lays the sweets in the coin tray. She mumbles.
The woman puts her hand in the pocket. She brings out an orange. She lays the orange on the tray beside the sweets. She mumbles again.
The driver nods. The woman walks on into the bus.
The driver sweeps the orange and sweets into his hand. The driver puts the orange and sweets into the pocket of his jacket. The driver looks up at him.
He lays some coins on the tray. The driver pushes the button. The ticket comes out. He takes the ticket. He walks on into the bus.
It is hot. The walls are made of corrugated iron. The roof is made of corrugated iron.
He walks inside, it is hotter inside than outside. Sunlight comes through the open door.
The floor is dusty. The floor is dirty. There are cobwebs in the corners of the roof. The metal ticks in the heat.
It is quiet. It is still.
There is a table in the centre. The table is large. The table is made of wood.
There is a sofa against one of the walls. It is old. The blue has faded.
He folds the jumper. He folds the jumper into a pillow. He places it at one end of the sofa.
He lies down. The disturbed dust floats up into the sunlight. He rests his head on the jumper.
He watches the dust floating in the light.
He closes his eyes.
He listens to the ticking of the metal.
The nurses and doctor come in. They wear white. There are three nurses. One of them carries a case.
A nurse goes to the table. The nurse begins wiping the dust off the table.
The doctor takes the case. She lays it on the floor. She opens it. She begins to examine the contents.
He sleeps on the sofa. The sweat has dried. The metal ticks.
The two other nurses shake him awake. They stand him up. He rubs his eyes. He yawns as they take off his clothes.
He is naked. They take him to the table. They get him to sit on the table. Then they get him to swing his legs up and lie down.
He lies down. The table is hard. He asks for the jumper. A nurse goes to the sofa and picks up the jumper. She brings it across to the table. She refolds it and she places it under his head.
He thanks her.
The nurses and the doctor gather round. They look at him. They talk to each other. The doctor tells the nurses what to do.
A nurse goes to the case opened on the floor. She takes out some instruments. She comes and stands beside the doctor.
They begin to wipe something cold on his skin.
He tries to lift his head. He tries to see what is happening. A nurse calms him. She pushes his head gently back down. She tells him to relax.
“Relax.” she says.
The doctor starts giving more orders.
He lies on the table. He listens to their clothes rustle. He watches the dust in the air.
The cutting begins. The nurse rests her hand on his forehead. The cutting finishes. The doctor gives another order. A nurse leaves, then returns pushing a tall lamp on wheels.
They turn the lamp on. The lamp hums. The light coming out is red.
The doctor directs the light at the cutting area. She positions the lamp close to the cutting area.
They wait a few minutes. They turn the lamp off. The doctor examines the area again. She decides that a few more minutes are necessary.
The lamp is repositioned. The lamp is turned on. The lamp hums. They wait.
He can hear the humming of the lamp. He can hear a bird singing outside. The air is full of dust.
They turn off the lamp. The doctor examines the area again.
She is satisfied. She gives more orders.
They take the lamp away. A nurse hands the doctor more instruments. The doctor bends over and sews it up.
They have finished. They begin tidying up.
One of the nurses takes out a mask. She holds it over his mouth and nose. She tells him not to worry. She tells him to breathe deeply.
He breathes deeply. He looks at her blue eyes. She watches.
It is hot. He sits on the bench in the park. The park is very bright.
His mouth is dry. He can smell the dried sweat.
He looks at the grass. He looks at the rubbish bin. He looks at the path.
People are walking up and down the path. The people push prams. There are babies in the prams.
The babies have blue eyes. The babies dribble over their bottom lips.
The people pass by. The people push the prams.
As the people approach each other they move to opposite sides of the path so that they can get by. As they pass, they say “Sorry!” to each other. They say “Sorry!” at exactly the same time. They smile at each other. They pass on by with their prams.
More people pass by. More people push prams.
As they approach each other they move to opposite sides of the path so that they can pass by.
“Sorry!” they say to each other. “Sorry!” they say. “Sorry!” they say at exactly the same time.
He stops watching.
There is the smell of sweat. It is very hot. The park is bright.
He looks at the white concrete of the rubbish bin.
He looks at the black tarmac of the path.
He looks at the yellow grass.
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