On my travels around Newport today, looking for beauty, I came across a pair of red-and-black silk pants.
The paints had been left / flung / abandoned next to Travis Perkins Builder’s Merchants at some point before 11.18am on Monday 2nd October 2017.
These pants have since been on my mind. They are not cheap and nasty pants. They are good-quality pants. They are not dirty. They are surprisingly clean. I think they had recently found their resting spot. I can’t stop thinking about these pants.
What I need to know is: how did they get there?
When I find an abandoned object (whether it be a balloon or an odd shoe) I have this odd desire to construct a narrative for it. As I can’t find out the true narrative, at least not easily, I have to come up with my own (and that is the fun part for me). I suppose I could stand in the area over a 24-hour period, by the object in question, and ask everyone who passes by whether they either own the pants, know who owns the pants, witnessed the arrival of the pants or have any way of finding someone who might be able to help with one of the above.
Since I haven’t got time to be a sleuth, I simply must rely on my imagination. This is the story I have come up with for these pants.
I think that the pants were thrown out of a passing car window. It happened on the night of Sunday 1st October 2017, at approximately 8.22pm. It was dark when it happened. There were no passers by to witness the flying pants. The pants arrived just to the soundtrack of a passing car.
I came across the pants at approx. 11.18am. The pants must have been spotted, and ignored, between the hours of 8.22pm and 11.18am. I suspect I am the only person to stop and photograph the pants. I expect that if more than one person saw the pants, they might have exchanged a few words of amusement about the pants, wondering at their circumstances, but left it at that and moved on. Nobody else, I don’t think, went to the extent that I am now going to go to to create a history for the poor, abandoned, unloved pants.
Here is my story.
As I have already said, I believe that the story of the pants started at 8.22pm on the night of October 1st 2017. Picture this.
A car is driving down Station Road in Newport on the way to Waitrose carpark. It is maintaining a steady speed. There are two people in the car. The car is dark blue. I don’t know what make it is, though, as I don’t really do cars. I see a middle-aged couple in the car, on their way to an anniversary dinner. She is dressed elegantly, with a bit of bling. He is wearing a smart suit. I think it is their 14th wedding anniversary. They don’t have any children. As we see them pass by at 8.22pm, they are both feeling cross and hurt. Here is why.
For their wedding anniversary, he had bought her what he imagined was a thoughtful gift. He had previously hid the gift in the glove compartment of the car as an odd, romantic gesture. At 8.12pm, he had told her to look in the glove compartment. She had easily found the gift. She had been delighted to find a gift in the glove compartment, and so beautifully wrapped as well. She had been touched at his spontaneity. He isn’t usually a romantic soul.
Shortly before 8.22pm she had opened the prettily-decorated package. He had beamed at her with a sideways glance, not wanting to take his eye off the road for too long. He had thought the gift would be perfect; he had thought she’d look stunning in the expensive red and black underwear he had bought her from Rackhams in Birmingham. He adores her and this gift had meant to be a sign of his long-lasting deep love for her. However, the mood had soon changed. The gift hadn’t had the desired effect. Rather than with warmth and desire, she had reacted with anger. Her face had reddened. Her neck had reddened. She had turned to him, accused him of not knowing what she needs or wants. ‘Red pants it is not!’ She had shouted.
So as the clock strikes 8.22pm and as we join the couple, she angrily and haltingly opens the car window and flings the offending garnet out of the window in disgust. They fly through the air, high, over towards the pavement, and land, ironically softly, by a sign for Travis Perkins Builders Merchants. The car keeps going. It doesn’t slow. He stares ahead, fighting the confused emotions he feels, drives on, feeling misunderstood and hurt. Exhausted by her burst of anger, she slumps to the side, feeling exactly the same as he does. All that remains is silence, the air in the car pregnant with years of unsaid desires.
This is the first of my one-finger narratives.
There are many possible narratives for these pants. This is just one of hundreds of scenarios, like those that could occur in parallel universes. Perhaps there really are parallel universes at play here and the spot where the pants landed is a portal to all of them. Perhaps there were hundreds, thousands, millions, an infinite number of pairs of pants that all landed in that very spot at the same time.
Whatever the truth of the matter is, all stories end in a single pair of pants lying next to a sign for a builder’s merchant in Newport, Shropshire.