Archive for Dezember 2007


Ich nehme räumlichen Abstand,
begebe mich in die Ferne,
sammle Geschichten,
besinne mich auf das Detail,
schreibe die Reise,
bin unterwegs.
Bis bald, Auf Wiedersehen!


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Today I met Howard. Howard was wearing a dark blue cashmere coat and was stretched out on the pavement at the Notting Hill Gate crossing. Face down. A few people had gathered around him and a young woman was on the phone to an ambulance. I put my hand on his shoulder and asked him whether he was alright. Slowly, he lifted himself up on his knees and looked at us. He had been crying.
“Are you alright?”
“Have you been drinking?”
“Have you taken any medication?”
“Yeah, crack cocaine.”
“Ok. Why don’t you sit down for a while? Here, lean against the wall.”
“I am ok. I am ok.”
“What’s your name?”
“Howard. Do you know where you are?”
“Where am I?”
“You’re at Notting Hill Gate. You know where you live?”
“Yeah. W10.”
“You want a glass of water.”
“I am fine. I am an ex-paramedic.”
The woman on the mobile was still debating with the emergency services on whether it would be necessary for an ambulance to come around. Other people supplied tissues now, then walked off. Howard was digging through the inside pockets of his coat, looking for something. His hat. Fashionable, grey, with satin lining. He put it on his greying 3mm haircut and looked me in the eyes.
“You are very kind.”
“You are most welcome. You’ll find your way home?”
“Yeah, I live around the corner. 10 minutes.”
“How long have you been living in Notting Hill then?”
“Fucking ages.”
“It’s not what it use to be, he?”
He grinned.
Now he was standing. Swaying. Leaning into the window frames of the pub behind him.
The woman on the mobile asked whether he had chest pains.
“No, I am fucking fine. Don’t worry. Just leave.”
She got off the phone and said they wouldn’t send an ambulance around. Then she left.
“You want a glass of water?”
He didn’t answer, but somebody brought one out for him. With an ice cube in it. He gulped it down, splashed the rest on the pavement in front of us and handed the glass back to the doorman.
“Shall I call you a cab? You’ve got money?”
“I’ve got money alright. Just live around the corner. No worries.”
“You want to sit down for a little while?”
“No, I am going home now.”
“Ok, Howard. I am going now. Are you going to be fine?”
Tears came back to his eyes. We looked straight at each other. His eyes sad and lonely but full of truth.
“Promise me you won’t take anything else today, ok.?”
He nodded.
“Just go home. Lie down, sleep for a while. You’ll be fine. Will you find your way?”
“Ok. Howard, I am off now. I’ll see you around, ok? Don’t do anything stupid. I don’t want to read about you in the paper tomorrow. Or pick you up from the pavement again.”

Later I heard the sirens going down the high street. I had to think of Howard.

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