I didn’t recognise her at first, though in truth it had been a long time since I had last seen her. Since she disappeared overnight from the billboard looking out over Finsbury Park. From where she looked over us, our guardian angel with the winning smile, the bowling ball and the chipped nail varnish. From where she became a victim of progress and gentrification. Or at least the arrival of Lidl which counts for gentrification in these parts.
So I didn’t recognise who it was trying to catch my eye outside Rowan’s bowling alley, lost as I was in rumination on the evening gone by. My first experience of immersive theatre; not a good one by all accounts but probably not helped by my reluctance, or inability to immerse. To move in from the edges of things and actually give myself over to experience and then she caught my eye. She smiled. I smiled, she stepped out into the pavement and asked if she could talk to me. I stopped.
She said she had been stood there, trying to find the courage to stop and talk to a stranger. Talking quicker on adrenaline she told me how she needed to get over the shyness that meant things passed her by; needing to push beyond these things that stopped her fully engaging with, immersing in, her life. She gave me her number (she had promised herself she would give her number to someone that night), turned and vanished back into Rowan’s.
Where I like to think she remains forever, looking out over Finsbury Park, looking out for us.