What is this place? This city is like an ancient, crumbling maze in places. What are all these churches with their dead people and dead religions? Who do they serve? This was the centre of all journalism in the world at one point - everything was reported, decided and distributed from here - what was written here was the word. How times have changed. The media moved out to newer, more high-tech buildings and processes - news just a pack of headline-grabbing lies now. But none of that matters, what matters is that here, he is out of the way, alone - in this wet dark backstreet - he is not entirely alone, but the others are smoking or engaged with others via their phones - too busy or wrapped up in themselves and their worlds to notice him.
He needs to calm down. He needs to get a grip. He is white with fear and wet with sweat on a freezing day. He knows he has to do this, even if no one would know if he didn’t. Only two people are in this secret club, and only one of them is able to verify the request. The urn is heavy - he had not expected this when he picked it up earlier. Ash should be light, and the vessel would surely be made of cheap synthetic products, but it did seem to be some form of real stone. His backpack straps are digging into and inflaming his shoulders. Not long now.
He knew that this could go so wrong. How could these ashes be truly scattered as wished? Why couldn’t they just be slipped into the Thames from the side? Why the centre? What was so important about this North/South divide that it needed appeasing? Perhaps he could have done it piecemeal - a few grams at a time over a period of time - it wasn’t in the will to release everything at once, but you felt it should be together floating away as one.
Was there anything in there? He had taken a cursory look - but baulked at touching the fine grey powder. This wasn’t the woman he knew. This wasn’t the woman he had loved, made love to, argued with, laughed with, suffered with, or had children with. She is gone now. He knew he would never see her again. Everything to the contrary was bullshit.
He removed the backpack to his shoulders delight and placed it on the damp floor - everything wet made him nervous with this dry powder. He removed an empty lunch box and removed its lid, then took out the urn. There was only one other person within sight - he looked busy. He figured now or never. He removed the clasp and opened the lid and a puff of dust arose from the mound of ash exposed to the air "shit" - that could have been a fingernail, or little toe - at least it headed in the direction of the church for safekeeping. He tipped the ash into the Tupperware container slowly, but as it had now started to rain, he had to be quicker than he would like - what if this stuff got wet?
Once the contents had swapped vessels, he placed the urn back into the rucksack but kept the lunch box out. No one would bat an eyelid over someone walking across the Thames with a lunch box. Was there a wind? He licked his finger and held it aloft and tasted, he realised, her on his fingertip.
Millennium Bridge, London 2012, Nikon f801
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