Mind the Gap

by Opefoluwa Sarah Adegbite

i stand on a platform of unidentified faces, and business coats so long they flow over onto the
tracks and make a swaddling sea of tweed and leather and polyester. i stand beside a
beggar, wearing the night sky as his cloak; broken pieces of glass jabbed savagely into his sides,
and the blood stains a bit of my nike trainer. i take a few cautious steps forward, a few
 inches from the edge. i’ve crossed the yellow lines now. grandmother on the bench is

looking at me a bit warily, twitching a bit scarily. she thinks the youth of this race are reckless and
i’m not entirely sure she’s wrong. but the kind of reckless that would jump off a building to catch a
baby; prick their fingers a thousand times if it meant love was to be stitched through the earth’s
core, wound round humanity’s souls.
toes are over the edge now, there is a rumbling in the ground, a breeze lifts my

jacket and whips it over my shoulder blades so now i think i really understand

what wind is made of. it’s mostly dreams and unherded thoughts, i think, and a perpetual stench of cigarettes. i look down past my toes; the tracks are wobbling, vibrating now, materializing is the
face of a girl. she stares back at me with eyes as wide as the holes in little boys’ pockets. her
crystal retinas hold the sight of a woman bleeding, feverish, an unprecedented illness,

and the reddish liquid flows up to the girl’s pupils, until the whites of her eyes are bloodshot,
wrinkled, blending in with the bare ground beneath her. there are bags underneath her
eyes, far too heavy, a youth was never meant to hold these bricklayed
backpacks and yet there they are. her body is ghostly pale, ethereal, glazed in some

sort of translucence and i can see through her. and through her is a boy, with a fragment of star in his eye, and a pencil in his hand and a book in his lap and he is writing a poem.
scribbling; underlining, leaving gaps then jumping back through stanzas to fill them in.
she is angry at the injustice of it all. one single salty tear drips down her cheek, off her chin,
splashes onto the front bit of my nike trainer. i reach down and yank them off, throw both

shoes against the train tracks. she is standing there in poverty, a small, tortured life in her
possession,  bleeding mothers in the midst of recession; this educated boy a
reminder of her oppression. she is a girl. she is a girl. she is a girl. i am screaming now –
blurs of london underground staff are marching through; they are dragging me from
over the edge. grandmother said later she thought i was going to jump.

                i wouldn’t; i shouldn’t; i couldn’t –
not with His face watching down upon me. i just wanted to glimpse her one last time; she is
familiar. the eyes the nose the dark shade of skin, the strange dimple beneath her chin and that’s
when i realise that she is me. clothed in some wretched kind of insecurity–
i could’ve been her. i could’ve been her. but, no, i couldn’t have. because i ended up on a

london train platform, and she ended up on the rails.
mind the gap, mind the gap, mind the gender inequality gap;
it is the Voice in my head and it will not go away.
she was a girl//she is a girl//she will be a girl –
and i promise, she will see the light of Heaven’s face.