It is hot in London, hot-hot. Everywhere I walk are lobster-faced people, limbs sticky with sweat.
Yesterday I walked home in the afternoon from Sunday lunch. I had walked there in the sun over Tower Bridge, mid-tourist season, the bridge clogged with hesitating crowds all wanting the same photo in the same spot, distracted by sellers of plastic London tat and honey roast peanuts. Roast peanuts! The little carts sweltering everywhere in the heat.
On the way back I nipped across the Millennium Bridge to the north side of the Thames–one time past all the Bankside buskers had been edifying enough. The northern Thames Path is more winding but less crowded.
As I turned the corner from one of the many dog-legs that take you away from the water then back down again, an apple came rolling up a thin shadowy alleyway, crossing my path.
Now here’s a curious thing. With the afternoon light golden around me how could I help but feel like Eve as this mysterious green apple rolled in my direction? Could it be that without my noticing this little section of road all covered with concrete girders and raised pedestrian overpasses had always been Eden? I kept walking, walking towards the apple.
Behind the apple sauntered two charming snakes of young men. Handsome. They saw my perplexed glance at the apple. They began to laugh. I began to laugh. Everything had that portentous feel, like it should be the start of a story. An Elizabethan comedy of manners, with much chasing about, and hiding, and mistaken intentions, and fol-de-rol.
I kept walking. As I crossed the alley, stepping over the apple, they turned the other direction. Pity. I heard their laughter recede around the corner behind me. And then I was around the next corner too, with the clear clean dazzling sun reflected on the river.