Waiting at the crossing for the lights to change a man extends his hand in greeting: : “Good morning.” I return his handshake and respond in like manner.
Suddenly his face darkens and his demeanour changes to one of aggression. He punches me in the arm and shouts: “Do you wanna fight?” I assure him that I don’t. With his face right up to mine he breathes: “Asalaam alaikum” Somewhat shaken and not a little fearful I step back and away and call out: “Alaikum asalaam” ” He waves at me good-naturedly. The fug of trauma with which so many in our cities are plagued has lifted…for now.