And This Shall Be My Dancing Day

Jennifer Kavanagh
Written by


As Emma sat on the train, holding the flowers between her knees, she was nervous. Her proposed intervention that the night before had in some indefinable way seemed momentous and meaningful, in the morning light seemed excessive, even intrusive. At Victoria, with the flowers in her arms, she struggled to release a bike from its docking station and, without a basket to put them in, she hugged the flowers to her as she rode carefully to her destination. At the door of no. 37, she gently laid the three stems on the ground, leant the bike against a lamp post and, peering nervously around her, began to untie the bundle of dead flowers.
“What are you doing? What the hell are you doing?”
Another Boris bike came to a screeching halt beside her, and a tall girl with wide eyes and streaming red hair shouted in her face.
Emma shrank.
“How dare you? Messing with the flowers! Do you know why they’re there?”
Emma nodded and gulped. Only too well. “I was bringing, I noticed, I have these in my garden, thought it would be nice…”
“Nice!” The girl could hardly contain herself. “Why? What business?” Breathless and almost as incoherent as Emma, she stepped off her bike, and brushed copper hair away from her
“I’m sorry. I had no right, I know. I just felt…”
“But why?”
Yes, why? Emma was at a loss. They stared at each other, stricken.
“Sorry, “Emma whispered again and fled, abandoning the flowers, both the live and the dead. In a nearby street, she sat down on a low wall and shook. She tried to breathe. What had she been thinking? What on earth had she thought she was doing? She pulled her mobile phone from her bag and with trembling fingers pressed some numbers.
“Trevor? It’s Emma. I’m sorry but I won’t make it in today. I started out but my migraine’s really bad now – I can hardly see. I’ll have to go home. Yes, thanks, I will. Sorry to let you down.”
So back she went, the way she had come, averting her eyes as she passed the doorway. Head down, blindly dodging chuggers and leaflets proffered by outstretched hands. Back to the station, out of the wind, hoping she could hold on. Sitting on the train, fighting to contain the tears behind her lids. From Leatherhead she cycled with little control and dangerously bleary eyes, and let herself in to her private space. Why hadn’t the girl been wearing a helmet?
Surely she, of all people?

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