Busker

Curled up on the statue of Oscar Wilde a heavy head against his bronze face, the tourists lingered. It is more a tomb than a statue with Oscar’s squashed fat head protuding from one end. He is the magician’s assistant the moment the lid slides on the box before being cut in two.

Oscar was once believed to be a relative but it turned out to be Noel Coward that was my nan’s aunts cousin or something vague.

All my heavy possessions and a vintage guitar lay at our feet. In the winter sun I was done dragging it a while: the great corpse of my treasured things. The hostel had ran out of beds.

I wished for the real Oscar, some dark library of his where I could sleep in a deep leather chair.

‘Where you playing today?’ A Jamaican man with a guitar on his back asked.

He was the only voice to acknowledge me. The tourists still circled to pose with Oscars face. I was utterly transparent. Some even dumped bags on my legs to get abetter photos. His lopsided grin stole attention over my sun blind running eyes.

Again he asked where I was playing with my guitar and I realised it was the busker from Hungerford bridge. He only played one song: No Woman No Cry. Not even the song, only one line.

‘oh I’m not playing, ‘ I stuttered not having enough talent to earn a coffee. ‘I’m just carrying it around, I can’t play nothing.’

It was the day I left London, heart flattened that it might have been for good.

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