She is 60 years-old and rather lovely. She was heading home after a long day helping other people. It was late on a Sunday afternoon as she walked thorough the Bank station labyrinth to catch a Tube to get her home.
Someone’s hand was in the pocket of her coat. She looked up. The young man standing before her was holding her phone. She looked at him. He looked at her. What now?
Some years ago she was queuing at an ice cream van with small children in tow. Two teenage boys pushed in front of her.
“Don’t push in front of us, please.”
“You going to stop me?”
“I’m a police officer,” she said.
“No you’re not.”
“You want to risk it?”
The boys joined the back of the queue. She was not and never has been a police officer, by the way.
So…the young man who’d stolen her phone just stood there, holding it. She reach out and snatched it back. There were other people around, which might or might not explain why the young man just walked off, heading deeper into the station.
The woman stayed put for a while, re-running what had happened in her head. She hadn’t made a decision to snatch her phone back. She’d just done it.
She walked on, along the corridors, through the ticket barrier, down to the platform. Standing there, waiting, was the young man who had taken her phone.
She looked at him. He looked at her. A train was approaching. It thundered into the station. It came to a halt, the doors opened and the woman jumped smartly aboard.
“See him?” she said to fellow passengers, pointing at the young man. “He took my phone.”
There was a flurry of interest, a swelling sense of empathy. A couple of people made as if to step off the carriage to confront the young man, but the doors were closing so they didn’t.
The train pulled out of Bank. The young man stayed on the platform. The woman’s journey home continued.
John Vane writes word sketches of London. Sometimes he makes things up. Follow John on Twitter.
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