“You cannot be serious” came the rant from the living room. McEnroe was long dead from the tennis scene and now we were being told by the television that the ‘Queen of Hearts’ Princess Di had been taken from our world. The stragglers who had stayed over from the night’s partying were being pulled at their roots. Reality was not something easy to grasp for any of us and now we were being challenged with a full on assault of the senses.

The crowd assembled took on postures of every description- curled up clutching themselves or others for comfort, a few slumped, while others were apprehensively straight- any other position and they’d simply fall apart. For me I felt completely shaken, time was taking on a strange elasticity speeding up and slowing down, a warped surrealism. This wasn’t a hidden camera show and this wasn’t a hoax. Reality TV sucks.

Gathered here seemed the disrespectful at such a tragic moment. A crumpled empty packet of cigarettes on the floor seemed to resemble the car that had led Diana to her demise, red wine spilt by the side as if to emphasise the massacre. A bloody mess. A moment of silence was broken by the sound of someone summoning a bolus of phlegm from hidden depths- hollow and foreign expelled with relish.  Profound disregard and yet life goes on in all its gory glory.

Richard’s Hawaiian shirt looked very much out of place now. His face resembling more the texture and colour of boiled ham as he drew a sharp intake of nicotine. This was done as though his life depended on it and washed down with some warm stale lager, this a sharp contrast to the sobering and repeated report from the television. It was then I remembered my lodger had become overwhelmed with paranoia the previous day and had retreated to the loft to garner his wits- what sort of affect was this going to have on him?

The neighbour gave the right gravitas to the occasion or what was needed anyhow. ‘Carpe Diem’ he declared, seize the moment, seize the bloody moment. His dog came bounding in skating on the Formica in comic prose, wagging its tail and body ecstatically; completely oblivious to what had happened. Licking, darting this way and that, with energy that desperately sought approval. Life goes on I thought, life goes on….there are a myriad of ways towards living your life, I’m going to start choosing one that respects life itself.

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