Tulle Line to Central London

On the Piccadilly line, somewhere where we are still traveling above ground, a mum enters with three daughters dressed in thick, ruffled tulle skirts. The girls sit down on my suitcase, climb on others, hang off the poles and sing. They are on their way to a dance recital somewhere in central London.

Mum is on the phone to dad and everyone’s eager to talk to him. The kids close their eyes tightly when mum paints their faces with glitter. They look stunning before and after and of course have no idea that they do.

The ride is long and boring so they sit on the dusty floor of the train in their full tulle and zest. They take pouty selfies and mum has to tell them not to do hand stands on a moving underground train.

Next it’s YouTuber girls. So loud that mum gets irritated glares from the man in the suit. He is hogging two seats, one for himself and one for his bag, while others on the rush hour train stand and sway. She ignores him.

Acrobatics! More singing. Then out!

One noisy cloud of hair bows and chewing gum rushes from the platform towards the escalator, a mum behind them.

It’s quiet. The man in the suit looks relieved.

I wonder how the sisters’ big night will go and whether they will return chirpy or squabbling. And when will men with briefcases learn that it’s ruder to hog places for bags than to be a lively girl on the underground.

Which I never was.

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