Walking down Teréz körút today, I noticed that it was trying to snow. It was bitterly cold. I’d just gotten off the tram and was heading to meet a friend for lunch. I was well wrapped in my designer-labelled, black, knee-length down jacket that I’d bought in the States earlier this year. It’s just about the only thing I own that has a label label, mind you. And it’s warm. I love it.
Anyway, tiny flakes of snow were falling from the sky. I was humming some Christmas song or other and really getting into the festive spirit – unusual for me. The snow kept coming. And then I looked again – a double-take. It seemed like the flakes were blowing horizontally from behind me – as if someone had a snowblower on the go. How odd, I thought. How very odd.
I walked some more and noticed that the flakes were getting bigger. Much bigger. A particularly big one looked very much like a large feather. Before I had time to process the notion of flying feathers, I heard a familiar voice behind me.
Hey Mary, your coat’s been cut.
I turned, my brain taking a while to compute as it went through everything that could possibly have been lost in translation.
You look like a snowman!
I reached behind and felt my back, disturbing a mound of feathers that went flying. Yes – my coat had been cut. I took it off to see a ten-inch horizontal slash. I’d only been on the bloody tram two stops and had stood just inside the door, facing outwards.
My mate popped into the discount store and bought some tape to stick me back together. All the while I was seething. I’ve never been a victim of car keying but I now know what it feels like. I wondered why – why would someone do this? If it was it deliberate, then why? It if was an accident, then why not fess up? I was rightly pissed off, I can tell you.
Some hours later, on calmer reflection, I realise that I’ve little to be worried about if that’s the extent of it. The coat is just a coat. I won’t be cold, or wet, or miserable without it. I won’t be homeless this Christmas, or hungry, or in fear for my life. I won’t lose my job. I won’t be dodging bombs or bullets. I won’t be living rough. I won’t be blackened with bruises or beaten senseless. And after this, I won’t be in danger of taking all this for granted.
The silver lining in the feathered cloud.