A woman distracted



She did not return immediately home after work that day, even though that’s what she would have done any other day – indeed, that is what she had done every weekday for the previous twelve years. Of course, there had been the occasional social gathering after work, perhaps a leaving party for a member of staff, a few cocktails on her birthday, that sort of thing, but there was no ostensible reason for her hesitation that day. Instead of walking to the bus stop on Waterloo Road, (as was her routine,) she stumbled past the hordes of commuters waiting in the afternoon dust for the number 26 bus to Hackney Wick almost as though she were being sucked down the road towards Lower Marsh – that street behind the station – and, once there, began to pace backwards and forwards until it grew dark. Her to-ing and fro-ing must have appeared to any casual onlooker as the result of some deep distraction, perhaps a lost set of keys, or even some private matter into which her thoughts had been cast so deeply as to have made her all but oblivious to the way in which she now appeared. Or whether she was lured here by some rogue, circuitous thought which confined her into this aberration nobody rightly knows, but that to-ing and fro-ing of hers brought eyes with it. Hungry eyes. And what was left in the morning was a terrible sight to see.

Sometimes after work I too walk up and down this street, backwards and forwards, just to try and remember if I was responsible.

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