The Wobbly Bridge


I once went for three nights without sleeping at all. i wish i could say that i was having such a great time i didn’t want to go to bed but that’s not true. i just lay in bed hour after hour after hour. my thoughts raced like an electric train.

Ive beenawake since round about 4 which isnt too bad. listened to the world service but it was too interesting so i turned it off. i just kept going over what happened last night. trying to remember and trying to make sense of what happened.

it was at 20:33 that the text came. Tiina. she wasn’t even in bloomsbury but at the tate modern. would i like to come and meet her and her friend. theyd be there for another half an hour. i thought about leaping in a taxi but instead i caught the first bus down to waterloo bridge, and went down the stairs in the south bank centre. i saw a RV1 and ran for it. the driver saw me but made a funny sign and drove on and into the distance.

when if got out of the lift on the 7th floor of the building, i was almost out of breath. i looked for them and

what an amazing view you get from the bar there. i can’t believe i never knew about it before. the lights had come on across the city skyline. but the best view i’m sorry to say was of teena bent over the shelf that ran along the window side, a crisp white shirt just covering the top of her jeans, as she stared along the millenium bridge towards the curvaceous dome of st pauls.

her friend, Monna spotted me first and tapped her on the shoulder then tiina turned slowly around. then flicking her head clockwise so that her long hair fell over the side of her face, covering her mouth.

she kissed me on both cheeks. mona shook my hand and said she had to go. she lives in london, married to an englishman. after she had left we ordered another bottle of wine, pinot grigio, her choice not mine,

[one second, my brother’s trying to skype me]

where was i? I was in the bar at tate modern and i feel like I’m a teenager – our of my depth with a girl who knows so much more than me and looks like shes in another league. I try to hold my own but am constantly distracted by the sound of birdsong.

Its tiina’s ringtone. she looks at her nokia N95 she frowns and kills the call. they keep calling and the calls get more frequent. i don’t know who they are from but one time she says the name “Perkelay” angrily and presses the button so hard the phone slips from her hand. I bend down and pick it up for her. She says, you’re such a gentleman.

This is the conversation that i’ve been running through my head for the last four hours:

I said: you wouldn’t say that if you knew me

she said: i would like to. i would like to know you better. what are you really like?

— i am like a fish that hates water (why did i say that? did I say that?)

— thats a pity. i am an aquarius. but really i prefer to bring fire better than water. i am sure that pekka has told you that…but you mustn’t believe what pekka says about me. i am not such a bad person.

she stared straight at me and there was a silent connecting. like when your laptop picks up the signal of a wireless network. behind her a couple clinked champagne glasses.

i tried to think what to say but tiina parted her lips as if she was going to speak. but no words came for seconds and seconds and seconds…

— i think i should go home

— yes its late, i said

— i think you should take me. i’m a little drunk and you promised jorma to look after me.

again the bird. this time she answered and at the same time her face changed. she was talking angrily in finnish…not that i could understand a word that she said…but i saw her eyes, green, so very very green, glimmered, somehow made me think of the sweat on my hands. I left to go to the gents.

when i got back she wasn’t there. i waited for ten minutes until i picked the bar receipt. on the back she had written

>> This bird has flown.

i went to a pub i know round the corner. before the bell went for last orders, i’d downed three whiskeys. i wanted to talk someone about what happened but who? i started wondering, what would East say?


2 Responses to “The Wobbly Bridge”

  1. 1 Alf

    You know, I’ve been quite curious about your exploits, but I have to say I’m less and less inclined to come back to your site Brad. The reaon is that I believe in spelling, punctuation and grammar – at least most of the time, and even in mobile phone text messages. Secondly, too much product placement already.

  2. Dear Alf

    I do take you’re point and am aiming for a 25% increase in punctuation, a target that I shall endeavour to meet within the next three posts. Meanwhile, i think you’ll find that, in this century at least, the use of brand names is part of the common parlance…and i do need to maintain my credibility here.

    Yours sincerely

    B. Eastman

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