‘HAPPENED’ by Richard David Lawman

An adolescent teenager put his shirt away in the cupboard; the kettle clicked delightfully in the kitchen below; the tea bags waited in their porcelain grave, thirsty for the monsoon; the cat skulked about the rosebush in the garden; the father picked his nose and flicked it onto the wall behind the TV, and then, nothing happened.

The hairs on her head parted, the nit comb dived in and tore through, looking for the offending white dots; her mother bit her tongue in concentration; the dishes slowly dried; the chicken defrosted on the windowsill, and then, nothing happened.

A middle-aged man suddenly became aware of how old he was, sat in a traffic jam, the blurry red and yellow lights leaving fluorescent stamps on the vision of his mind; his wife sobbed tenderly in the bathroom, a piss-stained strip of plastic carrying an uncompromising truth; their daughter stared into the blinding light of her laptop, her history essay due in a week, she heard a knock at the door, and then, nothing happened.

Some screwed up paper dropped to the floor of the bus, he could see in the rain-soaked reflection of the windows, the young man was in debt; a disappointed builder, laid-off for the third time in his life, noticed his laces were undone just having left the train station toilets; an African lady chuckled to herself as she couldn’t decided between orange, mango, apple, kiwi; an old man farted in the queue in Tesco and no one pretended to hear except the young boy who proclaimed, “Errrr! It smells of poo!”; a strawberry yoghurt balanced precariously on a worktop edge, and then, nothing happened.

Nothing happened in the hallways of a recently derelict office block; or the on the cobblestone back alley behind Allen’s Fried Chicken; or inside the cupboard under the stairs. Coats continued calmly clinging to pegs, tins of paint proudly perch on shelves in the garage; that bit of wire you’ve been saving for when you might need it, remains lodged annoyingly in the cutlery drawer; the curtains hang, not quite straight; rain uneventfully drizzles; and the air is filled with the sound of soft sighs from simple people wrapped in a blanket of boredom, because nothing is happening.

And then, suddenly rising up, descending in some places, filling the faces of children with fright, and the reflections of those forgotten puddles in the street with colour, distracting peaceful fisherman at the lodge from the sunset, giving people who barely meet something to divert them from the barren landscape of their conversation, casting a deep shadow which is boring its way into the ground and steadily marching towards us, producing that dull, distant groan which sounds like it comes from a Hollywood movie, and breaking the pathetic dullness of this ordinary Thursday evening, something happened.

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