The park was unnaturally quiet with none of the disorder they’d been warned to expect. There was no birdsong and something wasn’t right about the sky’s pale flatness. It might have been an everyday picnic had it not been for the public service announcements that preceded it. The couple might have chosen to stay at home as advised but, in the little time they had left, decided their favourite park bench was the best place to be.
There were clusters of people, a few but by no means all of them sobbing. Someone played a recording of Ryuichi Sakamoto and David Sylvian’s ‘Forbidden Colours’. The couple didn’t know what to expect – would they feel anything? So they waited, imagining what others around the world were doing. And although none of them knew for certain they correctly guessed it was the closest the human race had ever been to unity.