Today on my way to work I witnessed a sight so strange that it seemed to warp an otherwise inflexible London morning.
Walking down Jamaica Rd my attention turned to a typical Bermondsey red brick estate; amid the burnished brick was an open door, inside the open door stood a woman and a young girl, both in childrens nighties. Their eyes were fixed on the pavement in front of the house on which there sat a white trainer. I looked closer and saw that the trainer was aflame. I looked again: there was a solitary white reebok classic trainer on fire on the pavement. I stopped, and the three of us stood staring at the trainer.
What was the meaning of this? A quasi religious ritual? A memorial to a mothers lost son? Some pre-school arson? A perverse mirage?
The mother and child now turned their gaze to the watching stranger. The mother gawped at me with the dead eyed glare of a fat cadaver overfed on Iceland tv dinners. The young girl looked over with an odd plaintive expression. I seemed to hear a voice:
" Stranger, I am but a child with little realisation of my place in the world, yet in a few years I will have reached a threshold from which I will never return. Take me away so that I may live".
I turned away and continued to work, but for a brief moment I imagined solitary white reebok clasics burning in council estates across the land.