Tuesday, 23 October 2012
TURNING to GOLD (HIM and HER)
Warwick Park, afternoon (14:51), and our coffee is too hot to drink so we sit at the little cafeteria tables watching the wisps of steam spiral and flower in the air like ghostly vines. The sky, built of slate slabs, shatters with the sun and a robin's melancholy, piping, song of autumn.
Two youngsters - maybe just approaching their teens - stand together on the grass among the fallen leaves.
He in his low-slung gangsta jeans and oversize trainers. A little silver scooter lies folded at his feet. She with her hair in a severe 1930's bob and her coat buttoned up to her chin; she towers over him, lanky and slightly awkward; like a newly appointed governess.
He steps towards her and hugs her. Clasping his hands around her back and waist until she breaks away, collapsing out of his arms, giggling and hiding her mouth and nose in the cup of her hands – her cheeks as red and as excited as the promise of Christmas.
She is still giggling when, with ferocious seriousness, he stands on tiptoes and plants a light brushing kiss upon her cheek.
Two children trying on their parents’ wardrobe; finding new bodies that have yet to fit the spirits of fire that they now possess - like adults' clothes hanging from a child's shoulders.
Innocent? Perhaps not. Fire will always burn and there is a Prometheus in us all; moth born, we are instinctively drawn to the fire of the gods. And what strange and consuming fires burn upon the altars of our adolescence. They carve with searing heat, the fearful caverns of our adult lives.
For a little while they talk. He picks at the tyres of his scooter. She stands, stork-like, putting all her weight on one leg and fiddling with her buttons, the way that girls in school playgrounds have always done through the stream of time itself.
They turn and walk away, down the avenue of trees into a world that is turning to gold.