• Vol. 09
  • Chapter 10
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Last Stop on a Nameless Line

Lately all the scrapes and brakes of the railways have reminded her.
Signalboxes kept to ghost time. Tunnels disappearing into mud and rock
behind some grand Victorian facade.

Light dapples against the sleepers as the tube rolls to its outer limits.
Thick crayon-lines of memory and loss. High chain-link fences, burdened
with willowherb, dandelion, buddleja, clematis. Nettles and sycamore

are the working-class topiaries framing graffiti-covered fuse boxes
instead of Grecian statues. Her life always half-in, half-out of the city
where there are no gardens. Only balconies, terraces, parks. Yet each

seems whole: hers, and not-hers at once. She recognises every tag
on each underpass, as if made by friends. Every splash of crimson and blue
captures at once both the erosion of oppression and the strength of rebellion.

You can’t have one without the other. There have always been chimneys
here. There were always mansions with manicured gardens. There have
always been dirty streets. Tired faces. Persecutors,

and their survivors.