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posted by [personal profile] tadorna at 06:26pm on 26/03/2016
I went to my Saturday morning writing workshop today, and our theme this week was the London Underground. This is what I wrote.




It would make more sense, probably, to come into the city from the east. But we always end up pointing north, like the needle on the compass. It's just what we do. Drive to Southgate, park there and take the Piccadilly line to King's Cross. We sit there in the light, dark, light, the rush and noise changing as we leave the June sunshine and go underground.

It's been a while since she was on a Tube train, she says. She says, I used to do this every day.

We look at the straight line that runs along the inside of the carriage; the list of stations. Arnos Grove. Bounds Green. Wood Green. Turnpike Lane.

She smiles and says, Years ago, your father and Adrian made up a song with all the names of the stations on the line, and they'd sing it all the way home.

She tries to remember the song, but she can't. It's been too long, and anyway, we find it's hard to imagine this now -- him making up songs, being silly.

If it weren't for the London Underground, perhaps I wouldn't exist. Although that's a simplification, like Harry Beck's map. It smooths out the kinks and complications of real life. My grandparents did not meet on a train. They met at a conference. And perhaps, anyway, the story itself is embroidered, only true in part. The things you learn at funerals...

The story goes that he proposed to her on the Circle Line, my grandfather who I never met, and they were both too happy to get off at their stop, so they had to go round again. It seems too perfect. The Circle Line. A gold ring.

We change at King's Cross, and I try to imagine it here, before the war, but I can't. Now is too present. It fills every corner.

Later we go on a tour down memory lane. Our old house, all strange and clean. My school. I remember being here when they told us about the King's Cross fire, and it makes me think of the school hall with its polished wood floor. Of descending down a staircase in a crowd, into an enclosed space.

Everything looks smaller now, and slightly shifted. Not quite right.

Sometimes, stations are closed and abandoned. Shut up with their memories in the dark. You can go on a tour, they'll take you down, say, Imagine what it was like here, when the trains still ran. The people and the clothes they wore, and the way they talked.

And when you come up again into the light, you'll be in different world.
There are 2 comments on this entry. (Reply.)
lobelia321: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] lobelia321 at 07:48pm on 26/03/2016
\o/ Tube fic. Mornington Crescent!
tadorna: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] tadorna at 12:55pm on 27/03/2016
I think you should write a Mornington Crescent fic. :)

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