Let the river run
Let all the dreamers
Wake the nation.
Come, the new Jerusalem.
Carly Simon from the film ‘Working Girl’.
I would pull on my socks over my black tights and put on my trainers, before slipping quietly out of the door.
I was living in East London. Leyton. My route to work took me up Dunedin Road to the main street, where I’d turn right towards the underground station. It wasn’t here I’d start singing Carly Simon’s words in my head. No, I was too busy waking up.
The clang of the shop front shutters jarred my head, making me wince, and the fumes from the cars, the stale takeaway smells, filled my nose.
Approaching the station I’d take out my travelcard, feeling a bit smug, like a proper Londoner. Despite being surrounded by proper Londoners. It was easy to get a seat at Leyton, unless there had been a delay further down the line. We entered the train above ground, the doors would beep and we’d set off, building speed. Soon the darkness would enclose us, my inner ears tightening with the difference in pressure. I’d feel a fission of excitement each time. Obviously I was new to the city. That world weary tube traveller thing hadn’t happened to me. Yet.
I’d alight at Liverpool Street Station. A station I’d only known throughout my life as a strategic place to buy on the Monopoly board. I’d walk and walk. I was heading to my temporary job. I made good progress in my trainers and Melanie Griffiths would pop into my head, Carly Simon’s vocals on a loop.
Now, almost two decades later, whilst I still love the song, still enjoy watching the film; at the end, when the camera pans away from Melanie in her new office, the office she has fought so long and hard to achieve, well, I shudder.
To me, it looks like a prison.
And I thought that was what I wanted.
My Chicken Story Stories is snippets of my thoughts as I pull together the first draft of my memoir.