This afternoon, while the sun shone above in a blue sky without a care in the world, my little man and I walked home from the shops. As our attention was caught by a great deal of shouting, a silver car drove up onto the pavement. The car had all three passenger doors open. How odd I thought. The driver, a surly looking chunk of a man gave me a rather belligerent stare. I stopped to allow him to take up all my pavement, ushering my little man over to the far side and walking slowly past.
Suddenly three skinny youths ran out of a yard. Hoods up, strings pulled, caps down low. They barreled into the car. That explains the doors I thought. The car reversed sharply without any consideration for the traffic coming along on either side of the road and exited.
Another young man burst out of the yard. He ran back in. He ran out again looking highly agitated. He ran back in and started to reverse a car out of the yard then stopped and disappeared again. A van came past slowly just as the man ran out again. He waved wildly and shouted. Help. Help. I need help. He opened the van door and began to beg. My mate's been stabbed. You've got to take him. He's bleeding out.
A car driver had stopped as commotion was forming. The young man continued to beg. Someone please, help me pick him up. Then he ran back in. Car man and van man followed. I crossed the road cautiously not quite believing what I'd just witnessed. More shouting. What road is this? Does anyone know what road this is? I didn't.
Just as I got my phone out to try and help I saw the ambulance. Traffic was backed up on both sides due to abandoned vehicles but I was confident they would get through. I saw the lady who worked in the shop, in her car, with her family. I motioned for her to wind her window. There's been a stabbing I said, not quite believing my own words. You might want to turn around. Not you might want to rush in there and help but you might want to go a different way so as not to delay your journey any further.
I got home just as the air ambulance landed in the field across from our flat.
What struck me the most from the experience - apart from my lack of action reaction - is how ordinary the four men looked. How sunny the afternoon was. How none of the youths looked like they'd just stabbed someone. They looked like teenagers running away from writing clean me on the back of a dirty van. A little bit guilty but highly amused by it all. Had someone really been stabbed while my son and I stood a road away? In broad daylight? On a Monday?
I shook a little as I gave my statement over the phone. I didn't know how much help I would be, after all I couldn't remember many useful details. After I'd finished trembling, I sobbed briefly involuntarily and then I felt a little bit sick. I hope he made it.