Silencio CXXXV

We walk out of the building onto Portland Place and there are people everywhere. Milling around every door of all the nearby offices are people chatting and smiling. A bus pulls up besides us and stops. The driver tells the people inside that they're stopping for two minutes of silence. Around us the noise-level raises slightly and then almost instantaneously - without any warning - stops. Without any apparent signal everyone goes quiet and stands still. All around me are people standing quietly. No one makes eye contact. A motorcycle slows and stops. A couple of cars go past until they can find somewhere to pause for a moment. The noise of traffic disappears. The the building work from around the corner gets quieter. Someone is whistling. Then they stop. London is full of mannequins. There's no noise. There's no movement. It's eerie. And then just as suddenly, just as randomly - as if someone unpaused the city - everything's back to normal. Which is exactly how it should be.



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