My feet stick to the floor of the Tube. Did I step in gum? Did someone spill soda?
Testing the stickiness beneath my feet, I press and lift them until the teen girl across the aisle with a feather tattoo on her shoulder gives me a dirty look. Her name is Gabby. She’s one of the students in my sculpting class, the only one even close to being good at it. I let my feet rest on the floor, and my eyes rove over the Tube map plastered above our heads. I swear I see it when I close my eyes at night, and a woman’s voice says, “Mind the gap between the train and the platform”.
My phone lights up on my lap. Ten minutes until Gabby and I need to be at our afternoon class. We’re supposed to sculpt a mini version of a nude model. My sculpture looks like a curvy asparagus. I’ve never talked to Gabby before, but maybe she’ll give me some pointers.
Across from me, Gabby scrolls through her phone. She’s on some dating app. Thank God, my boyfriend and I met in person and are going on four years. When I get back from studying abroad, we’ll both graduate and move in together. That’s the plan at least.
The Tube stops at Southwark. As I stand, a guy with a navy duffel bag shoulders past me. His bag hits my chest, and I know that it’ll leave a bruise. “Bloody hell.” Yeah, I sound totally American.
The guy ignores me, disappearing onto the platform. Gabby slips her phone into her pocket. “Watch where you’re going, Andrea.”
I didn’t realize she knew my name.
Everyone whose getting off surges towards the doors. Gabby gets off ahead of me which is good because then I can catch up to her outside and start a conversation. I make me way onto the platform, up the escalator (walking on the left side, of course. To be a Londoner, you have to pretend that you’re always busy), and out into the sunlight.
I don’t catch up to Gabby. She doesn’t come to class. In the paper the next morning, I read about a bank thief who escaped on the Tube with a duffel bag full of money. By the end of the week, my sculpture looks a little less like an asparagus and more like a lumpy carrot. I never saw Gabby again.