The date started in Tufnell Park. We’d gone for dinner and beer and then we wandered back to Archway. We marched up hills and down lanes and eventually came to Whittington Hospital; we decided to cut through. There were so many dead ends, this maze of a place – it was late October and chilly, and the hospital grounds were deserted.
We came to the end of the walkway and tried to turn into the path that would lead us onto Holloway Road past Mcdonald’s. A large, square building stood in the way, and the fences were too high to jump down from.
‘What’s this?’ she asked, pointing at it.
I felt bad because it’d taken us a long time to get home and all we wanted to do was fall into bed, full of burgers and crinkle-cut chips.
We leaned forward. The windows were all misted up; I glanced to the right of the building and saw a sign. Oh, Christ. Our date had gone all David Lynch.
‘It’s the morgue,’ I said.
I’d no idea it was here, and so close to the road. A weird, morbidly curious part of me wanted to linger outside, to peer through the spots where the condensation hadn’t quite managed to shield the view. It was so strange, this building being there for anyone to casually wander past. This wasn’t really something we’d expected on a second date.
‘Come on,’ she said, and tugged my arm, and we walked away from the building, across the hospital, and back onto the road, where the warm glow from passing car headlamps and streetlights lit the path home.