She glanced at the man who got on at Goodge Street. City type shoes and handsome face cast into a bored over-boiled sort of mask, mouth turned down, humbug-sucking. He looked heart-stopped, or else had pulled out the stops from his heart & drizzled it dry, draining it away for the six-figure sum he earned at work, the funds he ‘managed’. Yep. He was definitely one of those cityslick sinners who sunk whole companies with their sneaky share trading. She already had the measure of him. He'd snatched the pearl from the purse of his own oyster heart, and sold it for stocks and shares a long time ago.
Of course, within a few seconds he had pulled out the Times. His predictability sickened her, sank in the pit of her stomach. Businessmen will always look like this, and the world will go round and they thrive on money and society showers them with status, though their morals rise and fall with the share price.
Those bigshot Merchant Wankers, Rachel thought, viciously twisting her tongue around a cherry stem. She had taken to knotting cherry stalks in her mouth, as a distraction from her perennial chewing gum habit. A stem snapped in her mouth. She dropped it into her hot cupped palm and stashed it in her pocket. She kept the successfully knotted stalks in her left pocket, and the disappointments in her right. She liked the the unevenly blunt jangle of the pockets against her thighs; she liked the idea that beneath the boring denim exterior she carried unpredictable hand-delves of colour.
The doors slid open like a sleek dress, revealing London's shimmering skin. Rachel hurried down the platform, suffused with desire for the shining world around her. She marched along the dirty yellow line at the edge of the platform, using it to navigate past flumes of saris, badly fitting pink shirts , a man’s skinny bottom wiggling unconvincingly in cream denim, women bedecked with gold jewellery and jangling hipsways.
Rachel kept moving – yet the sudden sneaking suspicion of a voice, of a complication, made her turn back. The train doors slammed shut and a swift surprise in the form of an almost- broken nose hit her, hard.
“Oh, shit, I'm so – so – “ Her brown eyes flashed and swelled indignantly, golden flashes of fury like sparks bursting from the brown earth.The bespoke suited man soothed his shoulder where she had collided with it. He smiled and held out a stroke of luck in the palm of his hands.
“You left this on the train, I thought you might want it.” The knotted cherry stem glimmered on his fingers.