Saturday, 22 March 2008

The wall went up far too quickly

The wall went up far too quickly. She’d been told it would be a couple of weeks at least. It had only been yesterday when she had walked the grey uneven pavements in the neighbourhood, head down, focusing on the difference in height between slabs and not tripping as she shuffled along. She kept her iPod turned up loud playing Bach and never glancing upwards, the first she would know of an oncoming stranger would be the confrontation with their shoes. Of course, Susan had to plan crossing roads more carefully; it was best to take these routes mid morning or early afternoon, most definitely before school finishing time. She would walk to celebrate, walk to commiserate, walk to ruminate. She was the walker; that was how she had become known in the town. She had never been seen talking to a soul, had never waived to anyone, caught someone’s eye or smiled in any particular direction. It wasn’t that she didn’t smile at all, just not for others. In the absence of any outward signs of communication, Susan was a blank page waiting to be inscribed.

And this is what had happened. She went to see the doctor. The doctor saw Susan’s potential for inscription and wrote a prescription for antidepressants. She shouldn’t expect any result for two to three weeks and should come back in a month’s time.

So here she was stepping out of her front door and being blinded by the grey sky. The clusters of daffodils in circular flowerbeds in her street were like miniature suns swaying in a luscious green galaxy, the wooden fences brilliant and intricate carvings, door knockers were the finest pieces of sculpture and graffiti on the garages had become the most exquisite works of art. There was a man coming the other way. He had a stylish handlebar moustache, a handsome tweed coat and beautiful brown loafers. She wanted to kiss him. And so she did. She also kissed the policeman who kindly offered her a lift in his car. And his friend. And all his other friends too. And the nice solicitor.

Before she knew it, she was in a room, waiting for a doctor. Deprived of any human contact for a little while, she grew restless and she started to pace up and down, once again surrounded by walls.

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