It's slowly getting on top of the tinnitus like background hiss in my head, a residue of the rage and fury of the week just passed. I only notice this sound when I'm out here, up on my hill with just the crickets and the wind for aural accompaniment........... It's blissful purity as long as I don't do anything other than look at the deep blue sky above me. I don't want to see hedgerows or houses or trees, anything with physical form, not right now anyway. Only me, the ozone and the odd wisp of cloud meandering lazily past my line of vision. I shift myself drowsily backwards in time by about five days and remember the vile scenes in the pub on Tuesday night..........................
.............And then I wasn't.
Here's a thing. The pollen some people frequently complain about and the resulting hay fever it brings on, well it's never bothered me. I can snort it in and blow it out all day long. I always feel a bit bad when I call on someone I know who suffers from this horrible affliction and ask them if they fancy coming out on a walk on a warm late-summer day like this. I only want their company but I'm sure they think I'm a total bastard. Like most of my mistakes, it's not carried out with malice, just a general lack of thought. It's that kind of day though, the landscape wobbling and vibrating ever so gently in the mid morning heat haze as I climbed the hill to my favoured spot.
I turn over on my front and rest my head on it's side on the grass. It's still a little cool and as such it's fairly pleasant to lie there, closing one eye and then the other alternately, changing the perspective as I watch two tractors below, ploughing their furrows and slowly working their way towards each other in the middle of the field.
The subway train burst into the station in a brief storm of light and echoing abrasive clatter. The gusts of stale subterranean air being pushed through the tunnel in front of the tube train blew my paper in on itself and forced me to give up on any hope of re-organising it any time soon. The carriage was sparsely populated and dimly lit, a faint urine smell wafting under my nostrils as I took a seat near an elderly woman. It seemed like the constipated look on her face was probably a permanent fixture, but I doubted the ever increasing stench permeating the caboose was helping matters. At the end of the carriage lay the slumped figure of a middle aged man, passed out drunk with a Special Brew can clutched in his left hand. A puddle of piss that had formed at his feet was running down the grooves on the carriage floor towards the rest of us. At first I hoped it was spilt beer but a glance at the dark stains on his ill fitting cheap blue denims told me otherwise. That and the smell..................
I needed out before I puked, but the other carriage was no option either. A group of aggressive looking teenagers in offensively coloured shirts were busy using it as an impromptu play-room ahead of a night on the town, a night they would doubtless spend trying to get into pubs and nightclubs with very little success. I needed that even less. I thought of Karen, waiting in the freezing cold outside the subway. I was already late and she had sounded distinctly offhand when I'd phoned her as I made my way out of the office. I felt sure that if I got off at the next stop and waited on another train she'd be long gone, but I was in need of fresh air more than sane human company at that moment in time.