London Snapshot no.1
It must be a nightmare universally dreaded to be woken in the middle of the night and told someone you love is in trouble. This is what happened to my sister a couple of nights ago.
Sister lives with Boyfriend and Best Friend in an unconventional and interesting menage a trois which we can return to another time. 2.30am, she is woken by Best Friend saying "We have to go and get Hal."
Hal is wandering the streets of North London, barely knowing where he is. He is so distressed it takes them several phone calls to locate him exactly. He had been enjoying club night out - the wrap party for infamous reality TV show, as it turns out - talking to a friend over a beer when - with no warning, and no previous interaction with, or provocation towards - the club's bouncers drag him out of the club and beat him near senseless. There are four of them.
Hal is slight. Hal is gentle. Hal happens to be gay. Sister met Hal during training sessions to become a Samaritan. Hal helps others. Hal is a Good Guy.
On first hearing, I despair. I want to give up. I want to yell. I want to hold Hal to me and make it all better, like I can with Anna-mouse. But I can't with Hal, because it won't ever be all better. His life map has changed forever.
Then I think about the four. Men, I presume, and probably young. And I wonder about their world, and how far it must have veered from the one I inhabit. The one in which I daily thank my lucky stars that I am not one of those mothers haunting the news, holding up their bombed toddler or aged parent, trying to shore up a world broken by violence.
Why does violence need to be manufactured by some, when it is not in their daily lives? Is it really a part of our nature, to need some kind of war? Why do some feel so disenfranchised that their route to identity is with their fists?
I have no answers, only questions. And I send love to Hal.