Reportage: Package deal
Saturday 12 April, 16.50, Northern line, southbound, about Kennington or so
A man is carrying a box of red flowers, closed tulips mostly. His eyes are on the woman sitting on the other jump seat to the right of him. She is wearing an olive green coat, matt grey shoes with a wisp of a point and touch of heel. On her blue denim knee are some layers of tissue paper with a chocolate brown sticker holding them loosely together.
In her right hand is a pair of scissors with red handles. She proceeds to start trimming the tissue paper.
That’s when the questions start. Did she pick them up somewhere? Buy them while she’s been out? Grab them from the kitchen draw while running out of the house? Maybe she’s a seamstress, so has to carry a pair with her at all times for professional reasons.
She looks over to the man, who wordlessly proffers a roll of sellotape. She then proceeds to fasten down the corners of the package.
The women opposite flick their eyes between her and him. They are – almost – agog with wonder and admiration, as she brushes her brown bangs back, lost in her task. He remains a silent observer, marvelling at just what other skills she might have, and terrified that nothing he can do will match this dexterity and poise.