An hour since

July 9, 2011 § Leave a comment

You happen upon it a good hour after everything’s been cleared away – statements taken, broken-nosed cars loaded onto transporters – but the collision lingers in the atmosphere. Not for the motorists negotiating the busy crossroads, pushing to get through before the lights change and avoid a hill start on that awful slope. They were elsewhere. They saw nothing. Likewise that cyclist, smug on his singlespeed and thinking that traffic lights are for others, wobbling as he veers round a suddenly-braking car.

It’s only a pedestrian would be able to see the clues, piece together the story – flecks of paint on the bollard, the smashed plastic of a light cluster swept to the gutter, sand sprinkled over oil on the tarmac. A smell that you might at first think was the burning clutch of that lorry you saw struggling up the hill. Looking at the evidence in the road, you realise that it is the scent of the vehicles’ blood, spilt during that brief brawl. The smell hangs in the air like a memory, waiting to be washed away with the rain that is due later on this afternoon.

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