A Bloody Mary

–This mural of Mary Kelly, depicting her as the person she was before she became known as the final victim of Jack the Ripper, gives me so much respect for the artist, whoever they are.–

London is glossy and black under fallen rain. Orange globes, cast by over-hanging lampposts, shine on the slippery pavements. The metal gates of Spitalfields Market are tucked to the sides, leaving a dark space into the market-hall.

     Inside, the muffled music from the surrounding bars does not penetrate quite to the centre. Skeletons of market stalls sit at odd angles, their chipped wooden tops and anorexic frames exposed and stripped of materialism. A damp huddle of people walks into the midst of the tables, anonymized under umbrellas and hoods.

     A tour guide, young and smiling, trots to the front of the group, carrying a rucksack in one hand and a large yellow umbrella in the other. She keeps the umbrella over her head, despite the cover provided by the market-hall. Continue reading “A Bloody Mary”

Underground Compatible

–While on this busy tube, I thought… if in Islam you are not supposed to shake hands with an unrelated man, how must a Muslim woman feel when crammed up against total strangers?–

The red pole is hot under many salty palms. I can only see some triangles or slithers of light between arms and hands and bowed heads. Thumbs jump about over mobile phones. This is the only real movement except the occasional stamping of feet as the carriage sways from side to side. I am caught in the sweaty clutches of the Central Line rush hour.

    My mother and sister don’t get on the tube at rush hour. I would avoid it if I could, but today I have to work because other employees are on strike. More trouble because of the Night Tube. There’s an odd satisfaction to wearing an Underground jacket with a hijab. Proves a point. Continue reading “Underground Compatible”

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