A Story I Wrote as a Young Mother

Posted by on Aug 23, 2016 in Writings

A Story I Wrote as a Young Mother

Today I walked through the entire length of Plumstead subway and didn’t even notice. What I was thinking about when I walked through it, I cannot recall. I arrived at Checkers and realised that I had suddenly arrived. I must have gone through the subway but have absolutely no recollection of having done so.

Last week I walked through the subway, telling myself that this was the reality I had created for myself. I had created the hardness of the cement steps, the starkness of the walls. I began to imagine that they were soft, that their atoms gave way from my foot. I put my right foot down. Whoosh! The step beneath my foot was like water, and pinkish. It made a sound like a water drum. I panicked and reality returned. I tried to play the game again but my mind was either too scared or too convinced of the hard greyness of the steps and walls. I laughed and continued on my way to Checkers.

Sometimes I feel ‘grrrr’ with the world and on those days the subway is the stinkiest and most ugly of places. I’ll be pushing the pram and Sai will be screaming as we roughly go bump bump bump down the stairs. There’s vomit and piss on the steps and green sludgy water has flooded the bottom. The bottoms of my jeans drag through it. Yuk. Broken glass. Bergies (homeless people) are sitting on the steps, suiping (boozing). They say, “hey girl!” but they don’t offer to help with the pram. Bump bump bumping angrily up the other side. 

Sai screams. 


Sometimes I walk ever so mindfully through the subway, slowly and smiling at the world. Before I enter the subway I smile and look at the world. A cool breeze blows and lifts my spirits higher. I breathe deeply feeling my lungs expand. I push the pram carefully and slowly down the stairs. I notice the starkness of the walls, but I also notice the soft light of the sun on them. I notice the plants growing in the cracks. The small coloured gardener who cuts the grass across the road appears and helps to carry the pram through to the other side. I thank him wholeheartedly before he runs back to work again. Again, I stop and smile at the world. I notice the honeysuckles beginning to bloom. I look up at the block of flats across the road.  I notice an old woman looking at Plumstead from her balcony on the third story. She has long grey hair, clipped back at the sides and is wearing a bright pink jersey. I watch her for a while, smiling at her, hoping she will notice me. She doesn’t, although I stand there watching her for quite some time. 

As I walk away though, I feel connected to her.