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The dented Scalextric car that is my life sometimes, escaped the slot it races round in and I went thumping off the skirting boards Thursday.
Maybe something to do with being left too long in the house on my own with nothing on my mind but the meanderings of lyrics which meant thinking about things I try not to engage with too much as I get dragged into murky depths by nightmarish beasts when looking at my own reflection in mirroring waters.The “Two Worlds of Charlie F” took me by surprise on a number of levels I related to and linked up with subject matters within “Feast of Consequences” that provoked a bit of a spiraling.Not a downer but a few boxes fell out of the attic and the lids came off. All part of the creative process.A late afternoon curry in “Mother India” where Rab and I decided that to follow up the “Charlie F” experience with another show was not a good idea. I was overloaded and comedy was not on the agenda. Like drinking a strawberry milk shake after a few shots of strong whisky.While I sat alone with the menu as Rab relieved himself of the afternoon beers a guy sat down at the table immediately next to me.Worse for wear and flagging this was a man in need of solids.Blurred pale blue tattoos needled on younger skin now stretched suggested together with a wiry build and fierce eyes above a polite tongue that I should be wary.
Rab rejoined and after initial greetings recognized this could get awkward.
Vague stories of having “been away for a few years” and metal detectors picking up shrapnel in his head, a son in hospital and statements always ending in “I don’t really want to say any more about it” followed by endless apologies for intruding on us at our meal.
This was a man on a mission and it wasn’t going to be us.
I was joining the dots. He hadn’t recognised me. I was glad.
The strained polite conversation between us was overwhelming and was like sitting in the wrong end of the ground with opposing fans.
The subject of the play came up and the temperature rose slightly as it became obvious he didn’t like the army and what it stood for.
I avoided the engagement but Rab and I both made him aware we supported and respected the troops no matter what the rights and wrongs of conflict were.
Calm but strong. Confirmed by what we had just seen on stage.
He retreated quickly under the smoke of more apologies and rounded on another table who themselves stared at their plates and tried to ignore his presence.
Rab and I talked about army friends and I think he began to take us for ex-soldiers as he listened into our conversation , head bowed slightly towards our table. We were ignoring him as much as possible but were not intimidated. His apologies about his intrusions grew and then he took us by surprise by then saying he would buy our meals.
We politely refused but he would have none of it and left after only a few mouthfuls of his own curry handing over