Walking back from seeing a good friend over coffee I cross into Poplar using the 'Poplar Bridge'. The opulent lights of Canary Wharf behind me as I cross 'Narniaesque' a different world frozen by brokeness, fear, violence opens before me. I near the spot at the top of the stairs and it is still there. The patch of blood spilled just days before and the memories of being 5 minutes too late are back with me.
Then we were walking back with friends having been ice-skating for Bethan's 10th birthday treat. Then we were laughing not realising that we were about to be transported into a scene from Crash. 5 minutes earlier perhaps we might have been able to stop the violence unfolding. 5 minutes earlier we might have been able to talk sense to a senseless gang of Bengali youths who thought it a good idea to beat up a young woman whose crime was being Greek. But we were 5 minutes late and were there as she stumbled, screaming in shock her hands to her bruised and cut face.
"Dad what's happening...?"
I realise we have with us two 10 year olds, a 7 year old and a 5 year old seeing things that you can turn off on TV. Garry and I take the children home and explain as best we can about how stupid people can be. Kate and Tania wait with the girl and take her home - where revenge is already being planned. "Do you think that will help?" Kate tries to be an advocate of Grace
"No but it is what they deserve...!"
Oh for Grace to thaw out this world's bitterness and suspicion!