the day I stared @ Leicester Square’s footpath


I felt my cheeks burning red.
In fact, I could just feel the heat rising from my neck upwards.
I can’t recall now if I had a muffler or a turtle neck on; I’m incline to think it’s a relatively light weight turtle neck. It’s not cold enough for those lovely scarves… yet.
I do recall what he wore though. Dark steel bluish-grey turtle neck over jeans.
Strange that I recall that so distinctively.
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
I had arrived early… fearing I would over sleep or missing the train… something I could not afford as I have a flight to catch in the next few hours.
Having a breakfast meeting with an early afternoon flight is insane.
Having a breakfast meeting at 9 a.m. after ‘talking’ to the person at 1:32 a.m. seriously dictates that both of us should be in an asylum and not wandering the streets of London.
In any case it appeared like a good idea a few weeks earlier given my tight schedule and his need to bury himself in a pile of books.
As I walked out of the Leicester Square tube station early that morning I thought, “hmmm… so this is how Leicester Square looks like on a Saturday morning.”
I’ve only been to Leicester Square between mid-morning to 11-ish p.m., careful not to miss my last tube home. The latest I had stayed was with my girlfriend at Costa. Someone whom I’ve not met and spoken to in 14 years and the moment we met, we clicked and wagged our tongues non-stop, as if there was never a time lapse or a void in our lives from one another.
A second thought that struck me was: I’ve never taken any photos of London. Ever.
I suppose in part it’s complacency. And partly familiarity.
I shrugged at the idea and smiled to myself as I headed over to the Burger King at the corner. The designated meeting place. He’d be sitting by a window, he’d said a few hours earlier.
As I walked passed it, peering through the windows I was glad that he had not arrived and I’d have a few moments to nip into the ‘London’ store that sold everything that screams L-O-N-D-O-N to get the ‘Mind the Gap’ t-shirt for a friend who was doing a fellowship in Oxford but didn’t manage to get the t-shirt himself; a reason that is unclear to me.
The union jacks, Big Ben, london taxi and those men with impossibly high black hairy hats must have gotten the better of me as I spent in excess of 300 sterling pounds – again, something I’ve never done before. I hate kitsch, el cheapo over-the-top and over priced touristy souvenirs. Worse still I bought everything for me!!! with the exception of the t-shirt; which come to think of it, I haven’t got a slightest clue if it had arrived Mother India and the recipient I suppose does not have the courtesy to inform one way or the other! bah!!!!

Oh well, first and last time I’d be touristy shopping for sure.

Balancing the bags – one of which proved tricky with the metal reproduction of ‘Abbey Road’ sign – I fished out my Leica M8.2 and decided to take a few shots.
© Penelope Haque – All Rights Reserved
As I was walking and clicking away I suddenly stop in my tracks.
My brain was finally registering that the rough edges felt by my right index finger as I press the shutter release button was the original ‘naked’ screw like fixture which over-priced Leica can’t even provide us Leica camera owners {read: suckers} with a nice finish.
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
where’s the ladybug???
Think. THINK! THINK!!! Was it on when I took the camera out?
It’s my ladybug.
It’s not just any ordinary ladybug.

Lemme explain.
I had heard and always wanted a Leica as a novelty.
My turning point came at the sight of a ladybug button attached to a pre-loved M3.
I spent 6 days 21 hours and some excruciating minutes doing a speedy Gonzales Leica 101 for Idiots research over the internet, racing against the eBay auction clock.
I had swallowed my pride and dialed the ex-‘s number for advice; bracing myself for laughter that boomed and echoed across the Himalayan hills. 
I had endured a lecture that sounded like how sunny side eggs should be cooked, but I know it had something to do with light metering in the absence of a metering function on the M3, and not about eggs per se. I was too embarrassed to ask “why do I need to care?” about the sunny gibberish explanations.
It would have taken me many rounds of reincarnation to admit {then} that I was planning to bid for a funky old camera with a cutesy ladybug on it. Or should I say, I was planning to buy a cutesy ladybug that happens to sit on a funky old camera.
Needless to say that didn’t happen as the seller was reluctant to sell me a cutesy ladybug for the price of a very expensive camera equipment with an inconsequential accessory.
hmmmm… there are nice people on eBay after all.
It took me lots of rejection from Leica store assistants around Hong Kong, hours surfing eBay to finally stumble upon the ladybug soft shutter release button moons later.
 … and now?
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

I felt my cheeks burning red.
In fact, I could just feel the heat rising from my neck upwards.
But I can’t be concern about that. I would be fine. I’m not going to die of some discomfort.
I have to search for my ladybug. But where? How?
{light bulb} moment
or rather one too many detective movies/series …
I decided to walk to one end of Leicester square and started progressing one square foot at a time forward, taking an abrupt U-turn as I reach the end and covered one square foot at a time. For some strange and inappropriate reasons I hear my brain reciting the Hail Mary!

But that must have worked… the Heavenly Gods probably thought they’d spare this wacko brain {me} who’s about to join the hungry homeless folks wandering around in her pursuit of finding a ladybug no bigger than the tinniest of her finger nail.

… breakfast meeting forgotten.
… flight time totally out of my mind.

That was the day I stared at Leicester Square’s footpath …

© Penelope Haque – All Rights Reserved

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We had breakfast at St. Martins.
Mueseli with yogurt for me. A full English for him.
{“mmmmm… yummy Portobello grilled mushroom” I thought, trying not to appear rude staring at his plate.}

8 thoughts on “the day I stared @ Leicester Square’s footpath

  1. Ben – not sure yet. Probably not.Got miles to claim though.I didn't get the red airline offer tix I told ya about. Decided Stanstead too far off and thus, too much trouble.Got to tell my girlfriend I won't be visiting and mr. Portobello grilled mushroom that I won't be bringing him his yee sang! soooooooo… sad.

  2. my Leica M8.2 ??????NOOOOOOOOO!!! You didn't get it did you?NnnnnnoooooooooooOOOOOOOOO!!! The ex- gave it to you, didn't he?!?!?!??I will NEVER ever understand this 'relationship'.Green with envy nevertheless.;p

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