That afternoon, my Dad’s radio was blasting out “Have you ever had one of those days” and I knew how Elvis felt. The previous night Sophie had dumped me – by text: no reason given. I phoned her of course – twice. The first time she closed the call as soon as she heard it was me calling. The second time, she gave me an earful. She’d heard all about me and Holly Banks – ‘all over each other on the bus yesterday’. She didn’t give me a chance to explain. Told me to sod off – she was barring my calls.
I knew what had happened. Living on our estate rumours spread faster than wildfire – and with each telling they get embroidered. The truth of it was that I had been sat next to Holly on the bus the day before. We both attended the same university, but the only subject we had in common was English.
It had been our last day there before the summer break. Like all the other students we were on an end-of-year high and we did have a laugh together. That’s all there was to it. Holly is well out of my class dating-wise and I know it. I never thought any more about it until Sophie accused me.
So far, so bad. I decided to walk to the library to do some reading for my final year. I left the estate and had just got onto the main road into town when this guy, two or three years older and three inches taller than me, crossed the road and stood in front of me.
“I know who you are,” he said, balling his fist, “I’ve been looking for you. You’ve been spreading gossip about my sister you wanker.”
I assume it was Holly’s brother but I never got the chance to ask because he belted me in the belly with one fist and on the chin with the other before walking off.
I got up off the floor, holding my stomach, staggering, and watching his departing figure.
“Watch where you’re going,” came a voice from behind me and, as I turned, a shaven-headed bloke pushed me to one side. I was groggy anyway and went down again.
This time, I hadn’t even had time to get to my feet when a group of youngsters from the estate who, known to all and sundry as trouble, decided that I was a fair target and started kicking me from all directions. The last one I remembered later was a kick to the head.
I woke up on a hospital trolley, being checked over by an A and E doctor and a nurse. They decided that I needed to be admitted to check for concussion damage. Later that afternoon a pretty Irish girl, Aileen, a student nurse about my age came to check some readings and asked if I’d like a cup of tea. When she brought it, she stopped to chat for a while, asking what I remembered. She fairly howled laughing at my tale of woes before apologising.
“I shouldn’t laugh,” she said, “and it must still hurt a lot, but it’s like something to out of a comic.”
Before the end of her shift, she came back a couple of times for a chat and, by the time I was discharged at lunchtime today, we’d arranged a date. I’ll be seeing her tonight.
Today I present a photo of a tree that I saw as I walked around Carr Mill Dam, St Helens, Merseyside. I was struck by the colour contrast against its surroundings and the persistence of its leaves.
As with all of this series of shots, I used my Pentax KP camera and a 35 mm f/2 lens.
The EXIF data are 1/200 secs @ f/11 and ISO 2000.