Today I walked through Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park. It was hot and I decided to walk barefoot in the grass. Two phrases came to my head while I was walking, ‘barefoot in London’ and ‘more abstract than concrete’. This prose is what followed these phrases when I put pen to paper. Let me know what you think, and don’t copy it and claim it’s your own work. Because I know where you live. *hard accusatory stare*.
Barefoot in London
Where the grey concrete meets the green grass of the parks, I slip off my shoes and start to walk, tracing the line between the luscious grass protected by the tree shade and the hard-baked patchiness of the sunlit grass.
A group of students share strawberries and contemplate Shakespeare, ready to conquer the world with their learnt analysis and rhyming couplets.
Two women sit side-by-side in their underwear, turning themselves gold and brown as they ingest and regurgitate this week’s tabloid gossip.
A line of school boys follow instructions in perfect canon, each ignoring the teacher and copying the boy to his right.
A man in a suit falls asleep against the wide trunk of an oak, its leaves shading his face and its roots soaking up his troubles.
Two colleagues discuss the after-dark activities of the office harlot as they stroll down a smooth path between avenues of chestnuts.
A French girl giggles into her headphoned phone call as she lays across a blanket, half-reading an English novel and bathing her pale skin in the sunlight.
The grass is fresh and its dampness cooling in the midday heat. I wander between shadows and sunlight, hearing without being seen, seeing without being noticed, observing the lives of strangers I will never encounter again. I feel more abstract than concrete, less real and more alive than the beings around me, so aware of the collision of lives that happens on a sunny summer day in a city park but somehow removed from that collision by noticing. I forget that my feet are touching the ground and begin to float a foot above the grass, admiring its greenness against the white and brown and black and gold and pink and red of human skin.
My feet hit pavement with an abruptness that makes me real again. A runner in sunglasses looks me up and down before sprinting on and past. I put on my shoes and leave the ethereal green behind for the city concrete.