Thursday, 7 August 2008

"There's nothing wrong with love"

I had just left a local cafe where I had sat eating lunch, reading the paper and drinking coffee. I had been reading about Christiano Ronaldo’s ‘love’ and respect for Manchester United, Sir Alex Ferguson and all the staff, as well as his slightly more controversial (to United fans) relationship and view, of Real Madrid.

This was a cafe where a mother, on more than one occasion, called her curious and inquisitive three year old a ‘twat’, and told him to shut up whilst holding her puppy on her lap and wolfing down a ‘curry of the day’.

A cafe where, as I stood to leave, a lady (and her dog) asked if I was going. I told her i was. She told me that she wanted the sofa I was sitting on, because she ‘loved that sofa’ and was waiting for ‘someone’.

I left this small cafe and began the one minute walk back to my flat.

It was pouring with rain. I pulled up my hood and ventured with a steady pace toward my home. I walked the two hundred yard walk along 'the plains' and as I turned a corner, stepped on to a piece of pavement that somehow splashed filthy dirty rain water up my bare leg (I was wearing shorts) to heights that surprised me, including my face. Wiping my eye with my already wet sleeve I noticed two of the local homeless standing in doorways down the side alley. One whom once, after I gave him some change, told me he was polar bear and for the rest of the summer he was going to wear layer upon layer of jumpers, no matter how hot, in protest for polar bears. “This is how they feel”, he told me. “They’re sweating their nuts off whilst we melt their home.” He continued to speak of issues personal to him, morally, social and political before being distracted to silence by an attractive lady. Completely forgetting what he was saying or even that I was there, he turned back to me and said, “Got any spare change mate?”

He was standing facing the wall, just beyond him sat a woman, his friend, who acknowledging the Adidas jumper I was wearing, gave a rendition of the mock meaning ‘All Day I Dream About Sex’. After a short pause, she lost her smile that offered her worn, heavily stained teeth (as well as empty spaces where others once were) and said, “There’s nothing wrong with love…nothing wrong with love”.

She made me think. Made me consider the simplicity of what she said. It stuck with me largely because of the contrast between the contexts of her paired comments, one joyfully and with humour, the next serious and poignant.

I instantly thought of the woman calling her young child a 'twat', the puppy, the lady waiting for ‘someone’, and even Ronaldo and his football career.

As well as other things.

'There’s nothing wrong with love.' She’s not wrong.