Last weekend, I was in bed sleeping when suddenly I had a strange feeling. It woke me up! I lay in bed for a while then I got up, went to the kitchen and made myself a cup of coffee. I spread marmalade on a piece of toast, drank a large glass of fruit juice and ate some cereals. I then fed the cat, and gave the dog a bone. I took a shower and did all the things I had to do before going out. I shut the windows, locked the door behind me and left the house.
As I left the house, I found a letter on my doorstep. When I saw my address was written in green letters, I knew it was from my friend John, the 'ecologist'. He always drew trees on the back of envelopes and wore nothing but green clothes! I read the first lines and thought it was a nice surprise. I felt a bit jealous and said to myself he was really lucky. He had sent me this mail to let me know he was in New York. A cousin of his had lent him a flat near Central Park - funnily enough, my parents grew up in New York, not far from where they built the Empire State Building. One problem arose on his first day there: somebody stole John’s suitcase at the airport so he had to buy new clothes.
As the rain began to fall, I chose to take the bus to go to Trafalgar Square. I put the letter in my pocket and ran to the nearest bus-stop. A bus soon came by, I paid for the bus-fare which cost me £1.50 . As I sat at the back, an old lady spoke to me: she told me a strange story about her family and showed me pictures of her grandchildren. I understood that they were living in the USA now, in New York, near Central Park. She was sad because they rarely wrote to her. Living so far apart meant they rarely met except for very special occasions when they flew across the Atlantic. She kept talking and talking. She didn’t know how to cut a long story short! Seeing Nelson’s Column in the distance, I stood up, shook hands with the old lady and said goodbye. As the bus drove on, I was still feeling sorry for her.
The rain had stopped now. I spent some time near the lions, then I stopped at a shop which sold magazines and I bought a newspaper. I then walked to St James’s Park. Some people were riding horses, others were riding bikes. Some children were playing football near the water: no respect for the ducks! Besides, ball games were strictly forbidden. One of the boys shot the ball, it hit an American tourist who actually fell into the water. He hurt himself and nearly broke a leg. The man’s camera sank into the water and some fool swam across the pond to pick it up.
The man rose from the water, he lost his temper. He swore at the boys, threw insults at them, saying this would never happen in Central Park, his favourite park at home. It soon became clear that he needed assistance. So I took out my mobile and rang for an ambulance. They were here ten minutes later: one nurse brought a stretcher, they laid the man on his back. The other nurse bent over and held the man’s hand. He was alright, just shocked. I bet that incident taught the boys a lesson: they would never forget that day!
I heard a voice beside me shout “They won! They won!”. Apparently, England’s rugby team had just beaten Wales. They really fought hard for that victory. A band of supporters sang 'God save the Queen'. I just couldn’t bear the noise, so I followed a path which led to a quieter place in the park, to withdraw from all this commotion . As I cast a glance behind me, what struck me was the contrast between the loud rugby fans and the quiet tourists who didn’t really understand what was going on.
The wind was blowing harder now. I was frozen. I decided to go home, so I caught a taxi. Once at home, I opened the door and let myself in. I hung my coat by the door, stuck some wood in the fireplace, tore up an old newspaper -the main article was dealing with holidays and sun-seekers, how appropriate!- and lit a big fire but I burnt myself with a match. I was alone: the dog had gone, the cat was hiding somewhere. After a light dinner, I set the alarm-clock for 7 and went to bed to dream about Central Park. Yvan BAPTISTE – novembre 2005