The Man

The Man
The cold was close and penetrating. The man walked quietly and carefully in the winter park. Children skated, slid down the steep inclines and threw snowballs. Not careful and full of joy. The man smiled at them, he was glad. High above Gulls called across the vast sky. Pausing under bereft and skeletal trees he looked up.
The man saw them. Through the tangled network of naked and dead branches he saw them Gulls swooping, gliding searching for food and for survival. It was good to be alone; he stood still. Memories came like travelers seeking rest. People passed by yet he was oblivious of them.
Cold brought the deeper chill. There was no safety, he remembered wrongful arrest, being fitted up. Police pulling his hair. The aggressive bullying, being vulnerable as a falling leaf that frost veined like a white malignancy. Enemies had damaged him, he nearly died and the memory cast an inevitable long shadow.
He walked slowly and carefully away. Now he helped those abused and violated by the state and its bullies. There are many of them and in coldness their plight seemed all the more poignant.
Prison changes nothing. Good people become bad and bad people worse. It satiates a longing for revenge. Between punishment for doing it and not doing it again there is a deep shadow.
Again the children. The café was open, he went in for a hot drink and a sandwich. Sitting near the window he held the warm cup in his hands. Mum came to him.
They had been ‘special friends’ and ‘travelling companions’ for many years. The man had been her carer; she was wheelchair disabled with chronic and disabling arthritis. As a boy she would often hold his face in her hands. Now, in his heart she lived always and forever. He felt her close; love never dies.
He saw a squirrel, tail curled in a perpetual question. The man had many questions, what was the real nature of the victim? If they are created by crime is crime created by the state? Yes, but what is the state? Is it an admission that a society or a country for that matter had become tangled with conflict and contradiction? Some had though that this tangle needed a kind of power from above that would untangle the conflict. This power is something called the state. It stands above society and alienates itself from it. Hence deep and bitter divisions leading to the state creation of crime and criminals.
Anarchy, like so much else in life, needed proper understanding. He sipped his coffee; he was a thinker, a lover of wisdom. Looking at the children so full of life and laughter reminded him of his wrongful accusation of a young female. During what followed it was even suggested he was a paedophile.
The real danger was that he was a widely read and gifted intellectual who supported the prisoner, the downtrodden and the disadvantaged unlike his evil accusers.
Many sought his advice, the man gladly embraced the role of active philosopher. This in itself made him a danger to the kind of values and oppression created by the state and it’s non-thinking adherents. He was a challenge to minds held in willing captivity to the dominant ideology of capitalism and its attendant cruelty and selfishness.
The man finished his sandwich. He had often enjoyed sandwiches, hot drinks and meals with Mum. They, like the café, were part of the park’s history. A memory came to him of having once heard history described as “the present in dialogue with the past with a view to the future.” Finishing his coffee he walked slowly away.
George Coombs

The Man

George Coombs

Brighton and Hove, United Kingdom

  • Artist



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