Bananas. That’s what I was thinking about, walking up the street. I reached the crossing and the traffic light grinned at me in red. When was the last time I saw the green walking man? Maybe the red ones just liked me more. Or maybe the greens were tired of all the walking. I must have missed something as I kept idly thinking about the two, as there it was—the beige of my delicious latte all over the tarmac. My hand empty, the paper cup on the road with the plastic lid off, and somebody’s shoulder in my back.
It must have happened very quickly, I wondered, and then the liquid started collecting itself back together. Crawling into the cup, the cup slowly standing up, the lid closing with determination. Final drops of the coffee rushing under the lid right before it sealed off the container. And then the cup itself lifted in the air. A cyclist rode around the scene backwards. Without consent, my fingers locked around the cup as it jumped into my hand. The shoulder retreated and my back straightened out. The movement came to a halt. Paused. And unwound.
Somebody bumped into me from behind. The push jerked the coffee cup out of my hand and it landed on the tarmac. The lid flew off and my coffee spilled on the road. My single coffee of the day.
The man was very apologetic. It was an accident. He insisted he would get me a new coffee. I said it would be fine but he kept shaking his head—no, it wouldn’t. He got me vanilla latte. I asked for vanilla flavour. I didn’t have vanilla before. Vanilla is nice.
In retrospect, that was peanuts however. Kids are unpredictable. Lying on the ground there she was. Her head smashed, her limbs cut from the shards of the shattered snowglobe. Her legs bent so unnaturally. Blood everywhere. Dark red, fat strokes. Strokes of death. The car had not had enough time to brake. The face behind the wheel deformed in shock. It smelled of burned rubber. That smell that skidding tires make.
The blood on the road started to roll back, retreating into the open wounds. Street clearing up, streak by streak. Oun-oun-oun, someone whined behind me. As if controlled by a puppeteer, the girl’s body raised up from where it was metres ahead of the car. The body flew into the car’s hood. The hand with the shattered snowglobe rose and pushed the globe’s base into the smashed head. Joining the globe as the hand pulled it out, the glass shards left the body, undeforming the face, closing up the wounds behind them. The globe was whole again. A final bounce, unbending, bones straightening, the girl returned to the the sidewalk. The car moved back a dozen metres and all movement came to a halt. Paused. And unwound.
The car started to move. The girl stepping on the road in sync. Oops, I said, watch out. I pulled her back. The car flew by. Going too fast. She was lost. And the next moment embarrassed. She thanked me. It’s OK, I said. Her parents came running, their faces pale.
* * *
Holy crumpets, I thought standing at the entrance to my flat. The door was missing. Not entirely missing—just not standing where it should. It was lying on the floor, with one hinge still clinging to the frame. The lock bent, splinters and plaster dust all over the place. The coffee table that I liked so much was peeking from under it, only one of the four legs still intact. A fly was hanging in the air. And then it started going backwards. Pushing the door towards me, the little table proudly stood up. My foot stretched forward and the door came to meet it. It seemed to fit nicely to the shoe. Like an extension. My body leaned back, my leg bent giving space to the door. The hinges fastened in the place and the lock straightened out. My foot slowly placed itself on the hallway floor.
Time resumed. A fast-paced jazz drum solo was coming from the apartment next door. I checked my pockets. The key wasn’t there.