2015-10-09 Going Straight on and Not Turning Left

by Matt Triewly


Written 2015-10-09

I walk out of the front door and close it behind me. Check that it's locked. I go to the car and wipe the light film of dew off the windows and mirrors. I go around to the driver's door. I slot the key into the lock and open it. I get in; not easily though where I'm getting older. I throw my carrier bag with my swimming gear in onto the passenger seat. I draw the seatbelt across me and put the key into the ignition. I start the engine up, select drive, check the mirrors for other vehicles and move off up Yarborough Road. The radio is on loud. Heart FM. I don't care. As I get halfway up, I am dazzled by the sun. I slow down and put the demisters on full blast. As I turn right into Adelaide Grove I enter into the shadows of the houses. That's better, I think, I can see now. I speed up and follow the corner left into and up Victoria Grove...


I pull the car into the kerb along Ryde Esplanade. Next to the trampolines and nearly as far as the public toilets. I check that I can park there without a ticket. The signs says 10:00 am to 18:00 pm. I check my watch. It's 08:50. I have time. It would be just my luck to get a ticket. It wouldn't surprise me either if I came back to find the car spotted with seagull poo. I haven't been able to find it yet but somewhere on the car, possibly written in ink that only seagulls can read, are the words: shit on this car...

I pick up the bag with my swimming gear in and get out of my car. I lock the door and head in direction of the Waterside Pool. I look up and see that the sky is blue. There is hardly any wind and the sea looks quite calm. I wonder perhaps if I should have gone swimming instead in the sea. I like swimming in the sea. More refreshing, bracing. More to see. More sea to see. Ha.

I pay the £4.20 by card, contactless, and enter the poolside. There are lots of people already in the water. Mainly old. I stick a pound coin into the locker and extract the key. I then get undressed to my bathing trunks which I put on before leaving. I put my earplugs in and see a former colleague. We have a brief conversation. It's good to see him. He's doing okay. Good. I place the bag with my clothes in the locker and lock it. I then have a brief shower before I go out to the edge of the pool. I walk down the steps into the pool. Now in the warm water I place my goggles over my eyes and look for a place to swim. There are quite a few people there, but I find a 'channel' that's clear and gently lower myself down before starting to swim...


I have just passed the roundabout at Whippingham. I feel good. Relaxed. Optimistic. The swim has done me good. The radio is playing a familiar track I like; though I can't recall the title of it. Or even the artist. It's a nice day. The sun is out. Life is good. I am nearly at The Prince of Wales public house. A single deck bus, a number 5, swings round the bend and a passenger at the stop puts their arm out. I carry on round the bend myself and instead of turning left into Victoria Grove I decide to carry straight on down York Avenue. The reason being that I will be facing the right way when I park at the bottom of Yarborough Road. It's a minor reason. A whim. Doesn't really matter.

I come to the bottom of York Avenue. I can see the superstructure of the Red Funnel car ferry towering above the buildings. I like that. I like East Cowes come to that. I like the river. I like the sea. I like the boats. I like the industry there. Life is good. I am looking forward to a mug of tea when I get in...

I turn left into Clarence Road and as I pass the hairdressers on my right, I see someone lying on the pavement. It is clear that they have collapsed. An overcoat had been placed over them though the legs are uncovered. I notice that the shoes they are wearing are men's shoes. Lace ups. It's a man. Probably old. Someone's husband. Someone's dad. Someone's grandad. Someone's brother.

Several people are gathered around. I'm assuming an ambulance has been called. No need to get involved.

I carry on driving. I am reminded of mortality. The cruel hand of fate. I do not feel so optimistic.

I speculate that if I'd turned left instead of going straight on, I wouldn't have witnessed this. Turning left instead of going straight on. It's kind of a metaphor. Maybe there's some kind of message there. I'm always searching for hidden meanings. Pointless though.

I turn left at the bottom of Yarborough Road rather than going straight on and park the car. I pick up the shopping and the bag with the swimming gear in. I walk up to the front door, slot the key into the lock and enter the house...

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