They wobbled through Covent Garden past the rear of St Martins. There was a queue for the soup kitchen. This was an evergrowing queue in the last five years. There were more and more homeless in London, even though there was perpetual propaganda on the Bolshevik Broadcasting Corporation that we had the strongest economy in Europe and London was a Global City. She was sure she was going to see children living on the streets in her lifetime.
She told Semyon, she had walked once with her niece through the City. People looked at her niece with confusion and surprise. The City, no matter what people said, was an old boys club where children and family were not allowed. Childcare was for pussies and what they did, just did not matter. Only the money matters. People out did each other by bragging they had not been home and not seen their kids for days. Outdoing each other in their dedication to the job. Child neglect was cool and successful.
Cass pointed out the empty new apartment blocks to Semyon on the way back home. “I don’t mind selling them, but there should be some rent controls. To leave these new homes empty is disgusting, when ordinary people can’t afford to live in London. The world cannot survive on lawyers and bankers alone. You can’t eat or live in money. You only need so much in a lifetime. “
“You sound like a revolutionary,” he laughed. “You could be Russian!”
“I am no revolutionary,” Cass said sadly. “ I am a fraud and I disgust myself.”
“You have drunk too much. I will take you home. I will even take Tube! I love London,” Semyon now had boundless alcoholic enthusiasm.
Cass leaned against Semyon on the way home. He put a protective arm around her waist to steady her against the judders of the Tube.
They took the short walk to her flat. Semyon noticed several crumpled heaps of humanity in doorways. He gave a few of them five pound notes, mistakenly thinking it was small change. He turned to Cass took her hand, “We call them Snowdrops in Moscow.”
“Why?” Cass was confused at the beautify euphemism for such unnecessary tragedy.
“Because we know when Spring is coming, when their dead bodies emerge through thawing snow, just like snowdrops.”