Dispatch from the Razor's Edge, the Blog of Michael Stephen Fuchs

7/7 + 15

So I actually managed to forget about the 4th of July – until I was actually out running around Kensington, seeing the wide array of Stars & Stripes gear on display – or else I probably would have worn my American flag “Feel the Johnson” campaign shirt.

But I managed to remember the anniversary of the 7/7 attacks – the 15th anniversary, in fact – and donned my usual running shirt for the day, now sadly denuded. It of course used to say “Still Not Afraid” – having supplanted a near-identical version, now fallen to shreds, that merely read, “Not Afraid” – and headed out to run in Hyde Park… slowing and taking my headphones out when I got to the 7/7 Memorial. I try to stop by there every year.

Unexpectedly, it was totally deserted – I had the place to myself. But as on so many previous occasions, the memorial plaque was covered in beautiful wreaths of living flowers, all with cards attached – left there by the MPS, the LFB, LAS, London County Council, BTP, City of London Police, Sadiq Khan the Mayor… and also from No. 10. Boris hand-wrote:

We grieve for those who were lost.
We remember those who were injured.
We defy those who would divide us.

There were also the usual scatterings of notes and flowers from those who had lost people. When I'd read them all, I retired to the grass slope behind it, and sat down, just to contemplate, and take it all in.

A few minutes after I did, there appeared a youthful-looking middle-aged man in a ballcap with a greying beard, approaching along with a super-floofy pooch on a lead, carrying an armload of flowers. He knelt down and proceeded to lay these long, lovely, frondy, kind of exotic looking flowers on the memorial plaque, in and around the others. Then he went back in amongst the 52 columns, and laid a final boquet against one. Finally, he posed his pooch, took the lead off, stepped back and took a photo. After that, the dog went off and frolicked in the tall and uncut grass, while his human sat down in the shorter grass nearby, evidently also to reflect, just as I was doing.

When he finally got up to leave, he flashed me a thumbs-up, and I waved back. On their way out, the dog found something small and ball-like to play with. And his human danced a little jig around him, kicking it back. Playing.


  7/7     london     love  
close photo of Michael Stephen Fuchs

Fuchs is the author of the novels The Manuscript and Pandora's Sisters, both published worldwide by Macmillan in hardback, paperback and all e-book formats (and in translation); the D-Boys series of high-tech, high-concept, spec-ops military adventure novels – D-Boys, Counter-Assault, and Close Quarters Battle (coming in 2016); and is co-author, with Glynn James, of the bestselling Arisen series of special-operations military ZA novels. The second nicest thing anyone has ever said about his work was: "Fuchs seems to operate on the narrative principle of 'when in doubt put in a firefight'." (Kirkus Reviews, more here.)

Fuchs was born in New York; schooled in Virginia (UVa); and later emigrated to the San Francisco Bay Area, where he lived through the dot-com boom. Subsequently he decamped for an extended period of tramping before finally rocking up in London, where he now makes his home. He does a lot of travel blogging, most recently of some very  long  walks around the British Isles. He's been writing and developing for the web since 1994 and shows no particularly hopeful signs of stopping.

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