I lit a cigarette as drove away from my parents house. By the time I reached the garage I was beginning to feel comfortable. I went into the shop and got a 1:25 Lt bottle of coke. Smile painted on, interacting with the staff, it is so much easier to fake it when no one knows your story. I drove to the City Center and walked the short distance to the City Hall. I was wearing a loose short sleeved black and white checked shirt over a black T Shirt, black denim trousers and tan leather boots. The youngest item of my clothing, the T Shirt was three years old. careful usage had ensured everything still looked wearable. I got back into the car and the metamorphoses continued. By the time I reached City Hall the transformation was complete, I had became Griffin, the invisible man. I was still getting used to this alias but Griffin would do for now. I had just dumped the Glen Michael allias, the name of the body used to deceive the Germans in Operation Mince Meat as that cover was effectively blown and known by “Her’ and therefore useless.
I was still pondering wether to come up with a first name for for Griffin, or it go with whoever acted the part and deciding if any name was needed at all given the fact I would in all probability introduce myself to no one when I arrived in the grounds of the City Hall and was drawn to the beat of the Latin drums and the carnival atmosphere. I picked my way through the gathering throng, had a quick look at the fire eaters then found myself a tree on the periphery that I could lean against that was close to the big screen and gave a excellent view of the Salsa drummers and dancers. There was a crowd just in front of the drums, young people jumping in unison with raised hands, looking for all the world like a rap concert crowd. I understood the togetherness of it, the being part of a group, but I also understood it instantly “we are having a ball, but its just us, right” there was not even a pang of jealousy as the beat finished and a hand pointed and as one they moved off, i had done the “being part of something” before, and still felt I was on the outside.
I scanned the ever growing crowd gathering around the screen. There were families with children, extended families, couples both old and young. The young interested in the other, the old sitting on benches hardly acknowledge each other. There were groups of friends, there clothing marking them by age and social class. Then there was a group that were separated by position, dispersed around the grounds but a group non the less. People like me. Standing or sitting on there own. I was glad there were others, I made me less of a outcast in the throng. Others who for there own reason had came alone to be together to watch the opening of the 2012 Olympics. I believe this group had the best stores to tell, and the least chance of being asked to tell them.
The drums fell silent, the fire eaters extinguished there flames and I had a last look around before the screen became the center of everyones world. The screen that had been erected to provide a opportunity for the great unwashed to pretend they were part of “It” Well they had to do something after the ticket fiasco ensured even those with the means to pay had a equal chance of receiving either the wrong tickets or none at all. The organizing committee had promised to make it a Olympics for the whole country, then decided the way to achieve the impossible was to fake it. I think the children may later in life believe they were at the opening ceremony its self. The thought gave me a smile, fake memories would become real. There was a loud cheer as the screen flashed up the image of a runner with a torch. More fakery, this had nothing to do with the ancients. No, this particular bit of pomp and ceremony was a Nazi invention. The Nazi lye that keeps on giving as it were. The runner bringing flame and light to the Berlin Olympics back in ’36 and palmed off as a tradition. Tell a big enough lye, tell it often enough and it becomes the truth, people don’t question even when it is so obvious. The Olympics were in Olympia, the flame goes from Olympia to the new venue. Did the Greeks run in a circle round the field, or is it a invention ? I wondered if this thought would enter the mind of Becks on his speed boat journey up the Themes. Truth be told i was fine with the fakery. It would take me to be, In a fake audience at a fake event of a fake event, I was the most fake person there. At least the actors were playing the part that was set out for them.
I was mulling these thoughts around my head when the drums fell silent and the giant screen came to life. Recounting it now I think I may have jumbled the order but as I remember it we were given the view of a bird flying low up The Themes, the bird continued into the stadium and there was a babble of noise that became pandemonium. We were in the industrial revolution then the words were upon me, in the midst of the carnage someone was reciting The Tempest
“Be not afeared, The Isle is full of noises”
Griffin knew no fear, fear belonged in the psyche of that other person, the one that controlled his body in the presence of his wife.
“Sounds so sweet airs that give delight and hurt not”
Griffin had dwelled in that Isle, he liked it.
“sometimes a thousand twanging instruments will hum about mine ears, sometimes voices”
The clicking of ISP Addresses, E Mails, Instant messages mused Griffin, ole “wobble stick” was before his time.
“That if I then walked after a long sleep will make me sleep again”
Something strange was happening in the pit of my stomach, a long forgotten kernal of something was beginning to unravel.
“And then dreaming, the clouds methought would open and show riches”
Inspire a generation they had tagged these games, never mind the generation, it was inspiring me !
“ready to drop upon me that when I walked”
heat was seeping through my body, I recognized the feeling slowly taking hold of me, growing from the seed planted deep inside the scar tissue where it had lay dormant twenty five long years. Covered over with pain and neglect it lay untouched until the time was rite for it to grow once more.
The feeling was hope.
“I cried to dream again”
and tears pooled in my deep blue eyes. I could not remember the last time I cried, could non remember any real emotion other than fear come to think of it. Then the thought struck me, amid the tears of hope I questioned, what if I never go back ? My body shook.
The ceremony continued, I know it did. However It was all lost on me, my mind was unraveling exactly how and why I came to be standing alone in the crowd, and just how this new found hope had arrived. I had not just drifted to this situation, that was clear. I was not the branch of a mighty oak that had cracked and fell into a river. Taken by the currant to the sea, buffeted by wind and tide, reshaped then deposited on some far off land. I had made choices that would lead to this place. Granted they were strange choices but they remained choices none the less. My mind was transported through space and time, ticking off those choices until I arrived at a event no other person in the crowd could possibly remember. There own conception.