By Joe Sare
Cold hands. A hard cold. Fingers stiff, white and red. they’re wrapped tight around dimpled rubber. I Shove them into my armpits or rub my thighs whenever a red light tells me I can. It’s now raining.
The road is wet. Shiny dots of light melt into the tarmac like spilt milk. It’s the reflections of street lamps, headlights, a fluorescent Asda sign, the TVs in a window of Currys, PC world, or the moon.
It gets dark early now. You can trace your eyes around the outlines of buildings. They sit flat against the skyline like stencilled silhouettes. The backdrop of a sky melts and murgles between a bleeding red an champagne mist of a dying day.
The lights in windows of tower blocks mutter in morse code to one another.
Peckham has its own smell. Nod to the lollypop lady outside of the school, It’s the only way to get out of the junction.
After a while, you don’t hear the motor. You get a hiss of drunken water pissing out of the side of a tire. Occasionally you just hear the wind. It rattles into your helmet, and you get the sound of the sea usually reserved for shells. I even heard birds yesterday. But it’s because I was running low on petrol.
I once read about a Chinese torture method whereby a drop of water falls on your face at random intervals for prolonged periods of time. And even though you know a drop is going to fall, you still wince and recoil. But I like the rain on my face.
The road is always open when you’re on a bike. The static traffic becomes a Pacman map for you to wiggle through. A sporadic pirouette, like sucking a strand of spaghetti that’s trying to finding its way through the other strands of spaghetti. You feel buoyed up.
I take a left onto the road leading down to Camberwell. In the morning, you see people. Pavements filled with the masses of the working world blur in swirls of dripping wet coats, umbrellas, bags, gloves, hats and scarves. They flow down streets in thick oscillations, dodging and diving past each other like spinning tops, twisting and twirling as if to replicate the movements of water down a plughole.
There’s a moment every morning where I wait at the junction outside school. The clock tower in Brixton sits in front of me, so I know if I’m late or not.
I remember once seeing a plastic bag on the road and swerving to avoid it because I thought I wasn’t sure what it was and almost coming off and then laughing to myself. It really wasn’t that funny.