It was one of those days.
For the past few weekends, D and I have been talking about going to the coast to get fish and chips for lunch, but something has always intervened to stop it from happening. Rain, me being due somewhere, getting up too late for it to be worth it... just things.
We decided we were going to go today, come what may. We were going to get the bus, get off outside the chippy, sit and watch the world go by while we ate. I was due to be at Samaritans by late afternoon, but we thought we'd have plenty of time.
We got up late, but thought it was going to be OK. We'd have enough time. I checked the bus timetable and we left in good time. It was a beautiful day, mostly; sunny and warm, but very windy.
When we got to the bus stop, I looked more closely at the timetable. 'It's going to take 40 minutes to get there,' I said to D. 'It'd be quicker to walk down to the metro and get the metro out to the coast.'
He frowned. 'What if there's a delay on the metro?' he asked.
'What are the odds? It'll be tons quicker, honestly.'
So we set off for the metro stop, him complaining bitterly as he hates walking anywhere. We got to the metro stop, waited for the train. I noticed that the display was stuck - it had read ten minutes for the ten minutes we'd been there. I called the control from the help panel, they told me the train really was on its way, would be with us in three minutes.
One of my friends called on my mobile; I was talking to him when the train arrived. I kept talking while we got on, found a seat, waited for the doors to close. Nothing. I looked up at a couple fooling round, spinning each other round the pole just a couple of feet from where we sat. I noticed how he held his groin against her as they moved and pulled a face to myself, wishing they'd keep their sex games for when they were in private. But then I looked again as he somehow got her hands off the pole and marched her off the metro, his arm tightly round her neck. I noticed the broken glass at the same second I noticed her bare feet, shuddered as I realised something was definitely wrong. But not wanting to leave the comparative safety of the metro. Fearing that if I intervened that he would attack me. Not wanting to be close enough to him to find out if he would.
He walked to the back wall of the station, loosened his grip just a little but still holding her round her neck so she couldn't stand up straight. Most of the front carriage of the metro was watching them openly by now; he started shouting that we were muppets. I told my friend what was happening. I didn't know whether to hang up and phone the police. I didn't know why the driver hadn't intervened or done so already.
I didn't understand why someone wasn't helping. But I was too scared for it to be me.
I noticed her hand sneak out and settle on his hand, and suddenly I started to wonder how she was seeing this. To us, it was an assault. To her, it might have been a reasonable action on her boyfriend? brother? friend?'s part. And that made it all the more creepy in my head.
In the end a guy walking onto the platform, ignoring the metro still sitting there, started to talk to them. I don't know if he knew them or what; he seemed to be remonstrating with the man. The first man let her go and she stood there, calmly, not seeming to know or wonder what all the fuss was about.
I still wonder if she was on something.
The doors shut. The metro finally pulled off, seemingly hours after arriving at the platform. The sun was still shining, but the day seemed tainted. Wrong. I looked at my watch. 'If we'd got the bus, we would have been there by now.'
I let the fact that we would also not have witnessed the assault remain unspoken.
The driver announced that the police had, in fact, been called and were on their way. The people in the other carriage must have wondered what on earth was going on.
My fish and chips were nice, but I didn't really enjoy them.
You can't see how choppy the sea was from these photos, unfortunately.
We barely got back in time for me to leave again for my shift. One of those days.
Now, I don't know whether or not to call the police. I think I would recognise him if I saw him again, but I doubt I would recognise her. And he scared me. I don't want him putting bricks through my windows. And I'm not convinced it wouldn't happen if I go forward.
I've lived in the north east eight years or so, in total. I've never witnessed anything like that before.
I wish I could still say that.
I talked to one of my sisters before. We somehow got onto the topic of how, randomly, she has the highest tolerance for spicy food of anyone I know. She said that if she had a superpower, it would be to eat spicy food and then breathe fire.
It's really bizarre. She's a pale little slip of a thing, but she used to dip her finger in the mustard jar and eat it when she was barely 2 years old. By the time she was 5 she was eating raw chillies. None of the rest of us can do this. I still believe she must be some kind of genetic mutant.