I get lost in words — on the page, spoken by others around me, the new ones that swirl with the old ones in my head.
Smells, sweet and savory, waft in my direction and then move swiftly away.
The occasional eye contact with a stranger; reading someone’s lips while pretending to listen intently to whatever is(n’t) streaming through my silent headphones; the random utterance or facial gesture that reminds me of my grandmother (she would’ve turned 90 yesterday).
Über concentrated forms of distraction.
Incarnations of bread and water.
Avoiding people/dogs while acting like I’m not bothered by (scared of) them.
Mind wandering, thoughts out of nowhere; a long standing dilemma eases naturally as if the answer was present all along; at peace with where I am.
Tuesday, Wimbledon Day 2. The travelers are weary, but spirited. Picadilly from Russell Square to District Line to Wimbledon transfer from Earl’s Court. The travelers are surrounded by even more spirited event-goers: faces painted, outfits coordinated, paraphernalia adorning the body.
Southfields Station. The masses alight here, briskly making their way toward the Way Out and down the road to the correct entrance. The one where those without tickets go.
Volunteers greet the newest queuers with a smile and a hand pointing then in the right direction. Crowds of people organized into an orderly line that moves slowly, steadily. Around a tent while a woman sells copies of The Guardian with a complimentary sample of sunscreen.
Suddenly the story becomes clearer. The crowds are Massive. Many thousands have already been queuing for hours.
The green flag marks the end of the line… way, way, way, way, way, way in the corner of the field. A volunteer hands out numbers to mark each arrival’s place in line, no matter how late. The time is 10:15. The situation does not look good.
40 minutes pass. The travelers decide to ditch the effort and return the next day. But, not ones to waste a journey, they walk back, all 9.1 miles, from Wimbledon to Russell Square — via Wandsworth, Battersea, the Chelsea Bridge, Pimlico, Westminster, Trafalgar Square, Covent Garden, and Holborn.