MY MOST PRECIOUS

Do you ever stand, toes at the threshold of that yellow line and imagine some nutcase is going to push you in front of the train?

I always do. Every time the warm assault of air whips the hair against my cheek, I cast a furtive glance over my shoulder and judge.

Charcoal suit; not crazy.

Blow-dry; not crazy.

Skinny, pale, dressed head to toe in leather; maybe crazy.

Side step. Hold your belongings close.

The Tower Hill eastbound platform is quiet this afternoon. Outside, people jog, bike and bus beneath the sun. Burning diamonds into the pavement.

I walk to the right spot on the platform and crouch, balancing with my fingernails, letting them sink into the gum- studded stone. It’s still there, the thing that keeps me sane. The most precious thing I’ve ever owned. It gleams brightly in the grey grime beneath the track. My crown jewels.

“You alrigh’, darlin’?” he asks, lightly brushing my back. I tighten less than I used to. I don’t move, in fact, I smile. He probably thinks I’m crazy but crouches next to me anyway, his dreadlocks dusting my shoulder with their scent.

“You see?” I point to the brooch. He nods repeatedly, imperceptibly, like one of those dogs on the back seat of cars, as if the vibration of the tracks is funnelling up through the platform and into the tendons of his neck.

“Did you drop it?” he asks.

I shake my head and meet his eyes. “I threw it.”