(a snippet of)
Chapter 3, Mary
I went to the park, to the café, to the pond and took in nature. I walked up the high street and looked into the windows of shops but didn’t buy anything. I passed many pubs but didn’t venture in and smelt the soothing smell of active cigarettes and didn’t break my eight-month streak of no smoking, not even a vape.
I even went for an early evening stroll which has frequently saved my days in the past when I have found myself in the same mood as this one, but it just felt weird. I felt as if I could have walked aimlessly for miles and miles with no change, yet usually it only takes until the bench by the river, two miles from the start, to begin to feel the benefits.
This time however, I was walking along and felt as if the whole world was spinning too fast around me. I passed a lady with a Jack Russel puppy who was walking rather slow paced but everyone else was on fast forward. She didn’t acknowledge me behind her until I got right up close. It was one of those situations where it’s difficult to gauge when to cough loudly or politely say excuse me so that the person in question will hear and precious time won’t be wasted with you remaining stuck behind them for longer. I had my earphones in so wasn’t so embarrassed as half of my attention was on the beautiful music gently seeping into my eardrums and taking me briefly out of the moment, but as I got creepily closer to her shoulder I hoped more for her to notice me and shift to the left slightly so that I could pass.
The cars seemed to be speeding, the light seemed to be darkening more rapidly than normal, the electric gates were closing fast on the big house just up the road and even objects that shouldn’t be moving appeared to have some element of momentum to them. The trees, houses, grass, roads, fences – everything. I felt as if I was high on drugs and hallucinating like I was in a dream. It didn’t feel as though my feet were capable of being firmly placed on the ground I was walking on, so quite frankly the experience was disturbing and uncomfortable as opposed to having the benefits that Dr Knoll frequently harped on about.
I had to stop moving myself to firmly place my feet on the earth and slap my face to make sure that it was reality that I was walking through and my coffee hadn’t been spiked in the café I had been in earlier in the day. I did think the man behind me in the queue looked a little dodgy and was casting his eyes on my movements for longer than I felt comfortable about. Yet I know how cynical my thoughts can be sometimes, particularly when I am alone.