London Bridge to East Dulwich

I knew it would be good as soon as I climbed in the cab.
I said: How long have you been working today?
He said: Since ten.
⁃ You should stop now! It’s eight hours…
⁃ I’m heading towards home. When I get close, I turn off the computer.
⁃ Where d’you live?
⁃ Bromley…
And then, after a pause…
⁃ Something happened which means I can’t work nights…
⁃ Something bad?
And then it all came out. He’d been working nights, he’d picked up a couple of men, they’d robbed him – and, being sensible, he’d straightaway given them the money. But they’d wanted to f*** him up too. He told me graphically how one man held him from behind and the other – eventually – lifted a rock and was about to bring it down on his head…
It was intense for me, too. I was almost crying. And he was still alive.
I said: What on earth did you do that made you survive?
⁃ I called out, at the top my voice: JESUS! And that made them stop. Jesus saved me! And they took the car and drove it away…
⁃ But you were ALIVE!
⁃ Yes! he said. I was ALIVE!
And then it came out that he’d been a preacher before the incident, in the Old Kent Road. He believed before, he said. But now he KNEW!
Well, I couldn’t NOT tell him my story: the stroke, the four years of depression and – finally – the reawakening, for want of a better word. Though I’m not a Christian, something similar, it seemed, had happened to me…
He said I should read the bible.
I said: What book would you start with?
He said, after a pause: The New Testament. John.
I said that my first name is John.
He said that he’d learned that, if you’d survived a close call from death, it was because you had a message for your fellow human beings, and you should spread the word.
I said that was the way it felt. I was LOOKING for the message, and I just hadn’t found it yet.
It sounds like a serious conversation, but there was a lot of laughter (he was Nigerian), and I reached over and touched his arm a couple of times.
When we got to Upland Road SE22, he insisted on praying with me. It felt somehow meaningful…
I got out of the cab, gave him my left hand, said goodbye and went up to the door.
And I didn’t even ask if he had an explanation for the trinity…


Published by


I had a stroke on July 26th, 2013. I was a screenwriter. Don’t do that anymore. But have found another way to write.

One thought on “London Bridge to East Dulwich”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s