Tube stories: Oh dream!

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She had her phone pressed tight to her ear as I followed her into the station. The sole of her Nike Roshe trainers squeaked on the hard tile floor as she hurried towards the barrier. The casual comfort of the shoe clashed with the sobriety of her outfit. I had no doubt that in the black leather rucksack, she had slung on her back, were a pair of formal shoes. Nothing too high. A pair of Mary Janes with a small detail that made them interesting; an accent of colour, or a patterned lining; something that matched the navy dress she had carefully chosen to start the week? It was a plain dress that stopped an inch south of short. She had chosen it because it relied on tailoring not gimmicks to make its point. The modesty of her choice was reinforced by heavy black tights that clung to legs that had little, if any, variation from ankle to thigh. Her jacket, styled on a tweed classic by Chanel, hinted at tradition. It had no doubt been reproduced by a high street retailer, stitched together in China, so she could get the look, without the price tag, of the original. The grey pashmina she had slung over her neck hung long in front of her. It had a delicate herringbone pattern I only noticed as I followed her though the gates. It seemed superfluous on this warm autumn morning, leaving the impression that it was worn more as a comforter than a scarf. It hid a neck exposed by hair she had clipped casually to the back of her head. Strands of hair spiked from the clip like the fronds of a palm, exposing a small gold earring sitting tidily in the lobe of her ear. It offered a small hint of interest in an otherwise conservative impression. You could tell the pair were worn for sentiment rather than style. A gift given to her by her significant other. Something to bring good luck in the week ahead. The last thing I heard as I showed her my back, singing over the sounds of the morning commute like Keira Knightley in Pride & Prejudice, was an excited exclamation, “Oh dream!” The “dream” sat uncomfortably in my ear. She had used it not as a noun to mean a series of thoughts, but as an adjective. I had never heard dream used that way before, I’d never heard it used to mean great.

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