You wanna know
the TRUTH? I’ll tell you the TRUTH — I’m
sick of it. Sick of all the FAT stuff and Callan and
Vine and the bridge and the road and the cars and the
eyes and the words and the lies . . .
I wish I’d never been there
. . . never got INVOLVED . . .
Yeh, THAT’s what I wish.
Din’t see nothing, dunno nothing. Me? I shoulda
kept my big mouth shut. I DIN’T SEE NOTHING,
Yeh, now I know it.
Now I gotta fix things.
Do things. Bad things.
Bad = good.
Good = bad.
TRUTH = lies.
Lies = TRUTH.
You wanna know the TRUTH?
I’ll tell you the TRUTH.
OK, let’s see what we got.
It’s early November last year, nearly Bonfire
Night, about 5 o’clock in the evening. We got
cold hands and smoky skies and early-bird fireworks
ripping the night, and we got heavy breaths misting
the air as I stomp down on the garden path, heading
for the shed. I’m about halfway down, just zipping
my coat, when Mum calls out to me from the back door.
“You got your gloves, Moo?”
“Yeh, I got ‘em.”
“OK — don’t be too
long. It’s gonna freeze up later.”
I wave a hand over my shoulder.
The back door shuts — clunk.
I get my bike out the shed and wheel
it around the back of the house, down the path, and
out the front gate. I pull on my gloves, pull up my
hood, yank the gate shut, then scoot the bike along
the pavement, swing a leg over the saddle, sit down,
get it going, stand up, whack it into gear, hit down
hard on the pedals, up through the gears, getting faster
and faster, then I’m hopping off the curb at the
end of the road, and I’m gone, I’m away,
riding the evening streets.
Here we go — around the back
of the village, away from the houses, away from the
people, into the small country lanes, then down into
the dip and up the hill, pedaling hard, puffing BILLY,
sweating like a pig . . . GOD, I wish I din’t
sweat so much. It’s so cold and sticky, like freezing
blood, and the icy air’s burning the back of my
throat, hurting like a bastad, and the tips of my fingers
are getting all numb . . . but I don’t care. I
don’t give a TOSS about none of it. Cos I’m
going where I wanna go. I’m going to the bridge
. . . MY bridge. And that’s all I EVER want.
Oh yeh . . .
The railings — dit dit dit
— the steps, the concrete, the dull gray steel.
The shape of it, the angles, the colors . . . the tide
of traffic on the road below . . . the sound of it .
. . the background uuuurrrrhhhhhsshhhhmmmm .
. . the swoo-ooosh-swoo-ooosh-swoo-ooosh of the
cars . . . trucks . . . lorries . . .
The song of the road.
I can hear it now, getting louder as
I push on up the hill — swoo-ooosh-swoo-ooosh-swoo-ooosh
— getting closer all the time, getting inside
me. The song, the road, the bridge . . . I can FEEL
it, doing its THING, making me smile, emptying my head
. . . and now I’m nearly there. The hill’s
leveled out and I’m freewheeling, taking it easy,
swinging my leg over the saddle and jumping off —
landing pretty light for a FAT guy (if only they could
see me now) — then bouncing a stride or two, then
wheeling the bike to the foot of the steps and letting
it go — clank. Just like that. Just leave
it. It’s all right — ain’t nobody
here but me.
Just me and the bridge.
Me and the road.