Devising imagined scenarios for the characters on Coronation Street, and speculating on their fate, is something we fans like to do. I often wonder at their inner thoughts, and how the world might look from their point of view; a perspective which, of course, the programme naturally cannot give us outside of the medium of dialogue and direction. So here, for some Friday fun, is an imagined scene in which we find a pensive and fearful Todd Grimshaw as he awaits an unknown fate.
Todd sat in the dark, watching intently as rivulets of rain made their way down the window pane, slowing their advance temporarily on the sill before sliding to the ground below. Through the light of the streetlamps, he could glimpse the strength of the shower as shards of moisture sketched the night in daggers. The hissing rumble of a Streetcars cab saw him retreat swiftly into darkness, but once it had passed, he re-emerged. The silhouette of the lace curtains cast a pattern over the half of his face which caught the lamplight as he watched the embers of the taillights shimmer red on the slicked cobbles, like blood.
It can’t be too long now, he thought, tempering his impatience by reminding himself that the choice he had made meant waiting was all he could do. Tony hadn’t been impressed with his outright refusal to help, but concealing a murder was one thing; assisting in the removal of a body, quite another. Had he known that stealing and torching a car would have had such consequences, he never would have gotten involved.
But such was life, it seemed. How many times had acts of his own volition resulted in dire consequences for him? The dam had long been stoked, but much like the rain that pounded the street outside, his mind gave way to a memory occurring on a night, not unlike this one, when, on Tower Bridge, he reached the point of no return. He again tried to drown that recollection, as he had done many times before. This wasn’t the night for ruminating over the distant past. What was done was done, and he had enough regrets to contend with in the present.
It seemed typical that once he’d left London behind and achieved forgiveness at home, his life would yet again dissolve into a fug of deception, secrets and lies. Was he ever to be free of the shadows which appeared to lie in wait, even on the sunniest of days, to consume him utterly and completely?
The room itself was silent, except for the tick-tock of a clock, perched on the wall behind him, measuring out in steady beats the relentlessness of time. How long had he been sitting here? He didn’t know. The constant pitter-patter of rain, the tick-tock clock, the beating of his heart, the hiss of a persistent river of misery that coursed through both him and the cobble-lined gutters made it impossible to distinguish one minute from the last; one hour from the next.
What happens to the water that disappears underground? Where is the escape from thoughts that ooze from the mind and melt into a body, so dissolved as to be inseparable from the fabric of one’s very being? Is rest only to be achieved in death? He knew of someone who would no longer be troubled by such thoughts, or any others for that matter. He considered it rather macabre that he would envy the silence that was now eternally theirs, and somewhat ironic that their legacy would be to torment his for the rest of his days.
The idea of this sent a surge of emotion through him which burned like fire. To feel is to be human, he thought, taking a strange comfort in his capacity to experience any emotion, having engaged in a prolonged and deliberate numbing of his senses as a means of survival. In truth, as he immersed himself in darkness, waiting, his greatest fear was the slow but persistent ebbing away of his humanity with the rushing waters that disappeared into the secret tunnels that ran beneath the street.
From his shadowy vantage point, he imagined the warmth of the Rovers where, it appeared, everyone was taking refuge from the dreary night. He imagined their inane chatter, the persistent meddling, the small minded gossip that for so long had proven irritants which served to assure him of his intellectual superiority. Now, he reserved his disdain only for himself.
Their behaviour, reflective of many a small community, had presented him with infinite opportunities to mock them, if nothing but for his own pleasure and to alleviate his boredom. Yet now the features that made them who they were seemed all of a sudden like treasures to cling to, symbols of normality that could at least be relied upon to be consistent, if nothing else, and thinking upon these traits provided him with a strange, familiar sort of comfort.
At the same time, however, he was experiencing an emotion which ran counter to those feelings. To him, this sodden night appeared oddly spectacular; living in such terror, it seemed, infused the dank, glistening, liquid cacophony with a sharpness and aura he could almost taste. The street had never seemed more exciting. Come to think of it, it wasn’t unlike the way he felt as he watched the water of the Thames gush beneath him that night in London. He was the living dead, but at the same time, had never felt more alive.
How could it be that he was simultaneously impressed and repulsed by his own feelings? The idea that he had the ability to find even a shred of appeal in his current unenviable and morally depraved situation made him question his humanity once more, and his thoughts retreated, deeper and darker, into the chasm of his soul.
The clock, the rain, his heart, all continued their audible march. He listened for answers. None came.
But there was a new sound.
He bristled. He could perceive an ever so slight rustling noise in the very room in which he now ploughed the furrows of his mind. Should he speak? His breathing quickened. He was supposed to be alone. It was arranged that way. They’d agreed. He was to wait for the knock which had yet to come. Three raps in quick succession followed by a fourth tap. Was he imagining it, this sound? No, for there it was again. Silently steeling himself against who or what he might encounter, and tightening his grip on the handles of the armchair, he took a deep breath and turned.
Emerging from the darkness, each familiar feature revealing itself slowly beneath the light-infused projected lace pattern of the curtains, stood the very last person he expected to see before him. Without exerting any conscious will or desire, Todd slowly stood to his feet in horrified amazement, masking half of his spy in shadow as he rose. Unable to utter a sound, he simply shook his head in open mouthed disbelief as a hand emerged from the darkness to rest on his shoulder. “Shhhhh” came the whispered hush from lips, touched by a solitary finger, patterned with light, lace and water.
“Don’t say a word.”