Archive for April 6, 2013

The Meeting Place

Posted in Biographical with tags , on April 6, 2013 by telescoper

Spring seems to be arriving in Brighton at last, so I decided to take a stroll along the seafront. There were substantial crowds out and about who obviously had the same idea. Nice to see the place coming to life as the weather improves.

This little cafe is just on the Hove side of town. I used to be a regular here about 25 years ago, and it hasn’t changed much at all since then.

I can’t visit this spot without rekindling a very sad memory of that time. I was just sitting having a coffee on a Sunday morning when an odd-looking, rather gangly man approached the cafe. He was about 50 years old, wearing a suit and tie, and carrying a newspaper under his arm. As he got closer, however, I saw that he wasn’t just slightly eccentric; he had an expression of pure terror on his face.

The man went up to the counter and after some time managed to order tea and a scone, although by then he was visibly trembling. He sat down. Before he could do any more, however, his nerves got the better of him and he was sick over his table, and a bit on his clothes. He began to cry and left the cafe as quickly as he could, crestfallen. He left his newspaper behind.

I had no idea what torments that poor soul endured that morning, although I probably understand a bit better after recent experiences. I guess that he was trying to conquer a fear of crowds, was unused to everyday situations for some reason, or had some other anxiety-related problem. Sadly he lost that particular battle. I never saw him again at The Meeting Place, and have no idea what became of him.

I should add that neither I nor anyone else at the Meeting Place lifted a finger to help him. If he ever did managed to find some way of handling his problem, it was certainly no thanks to me. Shame lasts a lifetime.

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