Sunday, September 12, 2004


A young woman was murdered in our town a couple of days ago. She was stabbed in or near a place I usually ride through if there is still daylight when I ride over to the pool. If it's dark I go by road instead of taking the cycle track alongside the river. She was murdered down by the river.

The Man, who left the house before I got home, left a note for me informing me of the murder. "Please be careful," he wrote. "Keep some distance from people, especially at night, and if something strange happens go the other way fast."

He worries about me a lot.

When I got to the pool today (I went by the road, not the river) I was very glad he wasn't with me because it would have confirmed all his worst fears. There was blood all over the place - more than it seemed one person could hold inside their skin, and it was all over the floor next to the pool.

Of course it looked worse because it was mixed with water. The source of the blood was quickly revealed to be a very small boy with a bleeding nose. The pool guys were dealing with it by holding a cold can of green tea to the bridge of his nose, handing him a seemingly endless supply of tissues, and occasionally pouring buckets of pool water over him to wash the blood off. He was streaming red all down his wet skinny body and it was spreading all over the place because of the water diluting it. It was a very colourful start to my swim. As far as I could see there was no blood in the pool itself, and I decided not to think about it and jumped in.

For the first half hour of my swim the boy sat there, bleeding copiously and extravagantly, but calmly. Meanwhile, at a different side of the pool, two young swimmers were being lectured by a swimming teacher. I couldn't catch what he was saying to them but I suspected they were somehow responsible for the lavishly bleeding nose. They stood sheepishly and were talked at sternly for as long as the boy bled. Every time I came up for air they were still being lectured and the boy was still bleeding, so much so that I kept expecting to see him collapse into a little puddle of bleached skin and bone. But he didn't. Eventually he stopped bleeding, the floor was washed down and he was sent off to change. He didn't want to. He wanted to get back in the water. I was glad they didn't let him. I didn't really fancy a pink swim.

When I got home I cooked dinner for myself and had a glass of wine with it, which looked rather like blood to my attuned eye. I drank it anyway. A bit later I remembered that The Man had told me to watch TV at 10 pm, but I'd forgotten why. It was already 10.30 pm. I turned on the TV and sat down to watch but didn't know which channel I was supposed to be watching. After flipping channels a few times I came across a documentary about outsourcing. Most of the program was about outsourcing companies in Bangalore, and I remembered that he had mentioned recently that he'd like to visit south India next vacation. So I watched that, although I'm pretty sure it wasn't what he'd meant.

I wonder if we'll visit Bangalore next February? That would be an interesting change.

I'm currently in the middle of reading The Time of Our Singing, and loving it. (Where the reviewer says the writing is 'frankly mawkish' I get frankly weepy. Richard Powers is brilliant and can do no wrong as far as I'm concerned.)

I'm learning a lot about the 'colour problem' in the U.S. from this book, but I don't think I'll ever really get it.