March 23rd 2015, London, United Kingdom
Farron was telling me something about black holes and how Stephen Hawking theorized that they could be portals to different universes. Then the heat crept into my throat, the sweat bloomed on my temples, and now here I am... I don’t yet know where “here” is.
I’m in a small room. It used to be an office annex, I think. The carpet is originally black beneath the thick layer of dust. Cobwebs decorate all possible corners and joints, in lazy curves of milky white and grey. There could be spiders here too, but I can’t see them. I’m glad I can’t see them. Yellow and brown folders are crammed into cardboard boxes, with Sharpie scribbles on their sides: Accounts 2001, End of Year 2003, HMRC 2002 and so on.
Rolls of used up flip chart paper occupy several metallic shelves, and I can recognize English shorthand in shades of red and blue marker, lost between pie charts and figures. It’s been a long time since someone has vacuumed in here.
There’s a little window with a white frame — well, it used to be white. It’s more a shade of grey now, and dirt glazes the outside of the thick glass. I can’t reach it or see through it. I look around and notice a solid, full cardboard box that I could use. I pull it towards the window, my face tickling with a mix of sweat and dust.
Sliding between universes like this is always uncomfortable, but I’ve come to tolerate it. During the first 10–15 episodes I would heave and relinquish all rights to any food that I had previously consumed. Since I can’t control it, the best I can do is make the most of every bit of time I have left before I slip again and wander into another parallel world. I have a better grip over my stomach, now, and I’m only slightly queasy. Chalk it up to experience.
I climb on top of the box, my boots slightly denting the cardboard top. It won’t break, though. I’m good. I grasp the window frame to pull myself further up by an inch or so, just enough so I can see what’s out there. I can feel my eyes grow big with surprise.
I recognize this place. The big ferry wheel, broken down in three crooked pieces, smoke still rolling out from beneath. The County Hall and Aquarium sit behind it, crumbled in chunks of black and brown.