She left work and she just kept on walking. She walked straight past her house, and straight down to the edge of town, close to the shops. And she did this sometimes, went straight to the shops after work, but this time she walked right past and carried on towards the edge of town. Her mobile phone juggled in her pocket and she took it out, stopped for a moment. ahead she saw a drain and made towards it with the phone which she then slotted neatly between the bars of the drain cover. It thunked into the water below, and she carried on along the tow path which leads out of town, where the skeletons of shopping trollies poke out of the river bank, and where moth-eaten, half stuffed ponies gaze fixed and mute. And she realised that she still had her laptop, so she took this out (still walking) and flung it in, with one smooth motion, where is sloshed into the canal.
Her bag was lighter now. An arm ached, a small pulsating in the muscle. But she carried on, deciding that the bag too could go, because what did she really need that for? And then she stopped. And she thought. And she considered what she really needed. And she crouched down beneath the railway bridge, squatting on her ankles. It was dark now, and small animals were coming out in the gloom, snuffling near to her feet. But she kept very still, and thought hard about what she really needed. And she stayed there in the dark, until she’d thought of what she was going to need. And then, it was morning, and the grey-blue dawn sidled in. And slowly she got up, and opened up her bag, and she took out her laptop charger, and her phone charger and her wallet and her mascara and her lipstick and her car keys and her notepad and her tampons and she threw them all into the canal. But she kept hold of her debit card, and after everything except the card had been hurled into the canal she took off her shoes and flung those in too.
And her feet kissed the damp, sandy path. She strode slightly and quickly like a fox, towards the end of the path, where it re-joined the main road. And out across the ground fog, she could see the lights of the train station. And she breathed in, deep into her lungs. And she breathed in all of the mist, all of the fog, until it was a clear morning. Grey and clear.
There was a cash point at the station. So she took her debit card and she withdrew the maximum amount of cash. And then, stuffing this into her jacket pocket, she made for the ticket machine, bought a ticket and boarded the next train. The train joggled and shuddered on the tracks, shifting impatiently on its feet – to and fro. And then it juddered into life, and the landscape smudged and stretched into a long smooth blur. And when the train had gathered enough speed, she opened up the window, and she threw out the debit card.
Originally published here on 23rd September 2014