by Angela Wright
‘Graham and I never talk about it’
– Mark Watson, Hotel Alpha
We had been to the theatre, and we were rushing to catch the last train home. It was a dark and drizzly night, and as we scuttled along the empty backstreet, we noticed the dark shape of a man lying on the pavement. He look unkempt and sounded as if he was moaning. I started to slacken my pace as we approached, but Graham gripped my arm and speeded up. ‘Just some drunk,‘ he muttered, and so we walked on by, averting our gaze. I’m not sure if I imagined it, but I thought the man called out to us as we sped by. I felt a touch of remorse, but agreed with Graham that we needed to catch that train, and the man was probably full of cheap cider, meths or something equally ghastly. We didn’t want to get involved with anything sordid.
Of course, had we realised that the man was not a tramp but the victim of a violent mugging, we would no doubt have done something. He did survive according to the papers, but only because a ‘good Samaritan’ found him, administered first aid and called an ambulance.
Last Sunday at church the vicar’s sermon was based on the good Samaritan story. I felt Graham squirm a little in his seat, and I confess I felt a bit uncomfortable. Yet we are good people, we pay our taxes, go to church every Sunday; I do the church flower rota, and Graham is on the parochial council. Yes, we do our bit. The subject of the man in the gutter won’t be broached — Graham and I never talk about it.