How about you?
Even walking back along this shitty track and nursing a wounded head, I turn away from that memory. Wince and wonder what fucking shame I’ve set up for myself there. I know I don’t do any of this well but why do moments like these stick me the way they do? That fucking idiot was just on his way home, and really that situation could just have been a conversation, some banter, a pleasantly warm howdy-do on an unpleasantly cold day.
Well fuck them anyway. And how about you.
I get to the bend where the buildings start and would have walked past these two other idiots as well.
“Fucking hell,” I say.
The one squatting by the water’s edge dragging on the girl’s coat keeps dragging. The other one standing beside the first clutches at himself like pulling his own coat closed (though he’s perfectly well buttoned up) and takes a step backward. Squatter looks around at that. He shifts aside too then, taking a squatted steps sideways, and there she is, half-beached and face up, but surely not breathing if she’s that white and misshapen about the face.
We stand there a long second. They both look at me more than her.
“You gonna get her out?” Skinny man has followed me.
“You two,” I say. I point at them both because I’m remembering. “And you,” I say over my shoulder because that arsehole is an arsehole. I take a step sideways too, away from her, out of the triangle. We make a square now: me, her, them, and him. I wait for them to remember that I’m remembering, or to think that I’ve thought and to think that I know. But they don’t. They stay silent.
“You know her?” I ask the two who were there first. One shrugs, the other shakes his head.
Can’t do any examination until these three fuck off. Pink neon coat, legs submerged, that’s all I know. Coloured hair maybe. Can’t tell in the mud and the water.
I curse. Draw my baton. Skinny motherfucker called to this girl when she ran past. These two were following her. I have water in my shoes. “Get the fuck down here,” I say, to at least see if that will work.
I am remembering this wrong.
How about you?