SKETCHES OF SYDNEY

A Rough Morning

June 8, 2011

The ambulance was pulled up on the curb. Lights flashing, sirens silent. It was 8.00 am. I was walking to the train station on the way to work.

There was no commotion. There was none of the yelling or screaming that you associate with violence. Maybe someone elderly had an accident: a slip in the shower, or a heart attack.

I craned my neck over the slate wall that hid the building’s forecourt from the street. A man sat on the curving ramp that led into the foyer, topless. An ambo was wrapping a bandage around his shoulder. Blood seeped through the white bandage, turning it pink.

I glimpsed a second man, lying in the middle of the driveway that ran behind the wall, curled up in a foetal position. No one was attending to him.

There were a few police on the scene, no cars though. It was a short walk from the local police station to the Potts Point apartment block.

A suited detective checked the police tape pulled across the driveway and tightened it: securing the scene.

It couldn’t have been a car accident. A car couldn’t find enough speed to mow down one man and injure another in such a confined space.

Waiting for my train, I texted a friend who lived in the building. He called back, but had no idea what I was talking about. He was already at work.

In the office, I switched on my computer. There was no mention of the incident on Sydney news websites. Instead there were stories about Pink’s pregnancy and Masterchef meltdowns.

Through the day, my thoughts drifted back to the body on the driveway. Nobody was looking to him – as if there was nothing that could be done. Had I seen the first dead body of my life, that morning on the way to work?

Late in the day I got a text from my friend. It had been a knife fight, he said. A knife fight at eight in the morning seemed absurd, not an explanation. A man bled to death, like a stuck pig, in front of a luxury apartment block on a mundane Friday morning?

On the way home, I walked behind the slate wall, along the driveway and looked at the cobblestones. There were dark splotches and smears: spilt car oil, not blood.

I wondered if the incident had disturbed me too much. Or whether it hadn’t worried me enough.

Chris Ryan



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Comments (2)

 

  1. Scarlett says:

    Lovely story. Sad.

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