Little girl, you are beautiful.
‘RIGHT RIGHT TURN OFF THE LIGHTS, WE GONNA LOSE OUR MINDS TONIGHT, WHAT’S THE DEALIO??? I LOVE WHEN ITS ALL TOO MUCH, TURN THE RADIO UP, BODY CRASHER, PENNY SNATCHER….!!’
Pink shouts at me from my decaying IPod headphones as I start to feel a little more confident about the upcoming journey and approach the top of the escalator at picadilly station, imagining myself in a music video.
I am so cool, I am also free for a whole weekend, I should have been a rock star!!
‘BODY SNATCHER, PENNY CATCHER, CALL ME UP IF YOU A GANGSTER, SO RAISE YOUR GLASS IF YOU ARE WRONG…’
I reach the top of the escalator, step off and stop for a second to collect myself.
And literally, the next thing I know I am on the floor, my jaw aching and a pain I haven’t felt since childbirth emanating from my toe (childbirth may be a little exaggeration) my vision completely blurred by a rush of movement, the floor and the hair I just spent an hour drying.
I try to turn to get my bearings but very quickly understand I am still being accosted by something, being pushed and shoved and someone seems to be standing on me.
‘BODY CRASHER, PENNY SNATCHER, WHY SO SERIOUS?’ pink asks me, still in complete control of my hearing and now quite sinisterly providing an unwanted soundtrack to whatever the hell is going on.
From somewhere behind Pink, as I am trying to stand up and get whatever it is off me, I can hear people shouting expletives and screaming.
‘WE WILL NEVER BE NEVER BE ANYTHING BUT LOUD AND DIRTY LITTLE FREAKS…’
I catch flashes of yellow and orange out of the very corners of my peripheral vision as I finally stand up and move the hair out of my face and push someone away. As I do, the first chance I have had to, I yank my headphones out of my ears and realise it is actually me screaming and shouting.
I close my mouth as the shakes start.
I turn around and come face to face with a policeman who is trying to body block me from whatever is going on behind him. Luckily for me he is a short arse and even though he is asking me if I am ok, I ignore him, too busy trying to catch sight and gain an understanding of what has just happened to me.
I see what appears to be a very drunk older gentleman dressed in a scabby, stained yellow pair of pale blue jeans and a dark brown wool jumper leering towards a woman stood opposite him, who is quite clearly a junkie.
Her legs are full of scratches. Her hair is thinning and piled on her head, she has two teeth if any and her eyes are rolling about her head as she tries to focus on what is going in front of her.
I look down and my heart literally jumps in to my mouth when I see a very young child pressed up behind the junkies legs, hiding, trembling and sobbing.
I take a step to the right to get a better view, the police man still yabbering on in my ear, unnoticed.
I think he is trying to get my attention, asking me if I am ok, telling me I got caught in the cross fire of a domestic incident and do I want to make a statement.
I continue to nod and shake my head, polite but ignoring him and focus on the little girl and the woman who is now so busy shouting abuse at her no doubt tool of a boyfriend, she has failed to notice her daughters legs are about to buckle from underneath her.
I step out from around the policeman again and quickly head for the little girl.
Thinking back now I am surprised he didn’t stop me.
If the Irish one had been present he would have told me to stay out of it.
If my dad had been present he would have been to busy punching the yob.
If my mum had been present she would have been screaming.
If my best friend had been present she would have been doing EXACTLY THE SAME THING I WAS.
Which is why I did it.
I crouched down beside the little girl, trying not to feel scared by the absolutely disgusting language falling from the ‘grown ups’ mouths, language that even as a hardened swearer (!?) was making my toes curl, and asked her if she was ok very quietly.
‘Hey,’ I smiled at her as kindly as I could, imagining just for a second that this was Addison I was talking to, ‘are you hiding?’
And the strangest thing happened.
She wrapped her arms around me and wanted to be picked up.
I shit myself.
But I picked her up, hoping that her mum wouldn’t claw my eyes out when she noticed. (It’s all very well being brave but fuck me I was scared.)
‘Are you going somewhere nice?’ I asked her, the tremor in my voice giving away my fear (I know now that this seems like an idiotic things to ask but seriously, I was in shock and was trying to distract her, and it is the first thing I thought of, AND we were in a train station ok?)
‘No.’ she said quietly in to my shoulder ‘my daddy is a drinkaholic and me and mummy was going to stay with my aunty, but my daddy doesn’t want me to go and now the police are here to take me away.’
My heart actually cracked in half.
What do you say to that?
Unfortunately I did not get chance to respond anyway as her mother yanked her out of my arms calling her a little cunt, and then me something un decipherable.
Yes. She called her petrified daughter a little cunt.
And while I stood and stared at her in complete shock, she tried to run off, stumbling and falling, swearing and screaming, with her daughter in her arms.
I had to walk away. What else could I do?
I am on the train now, a stiff drink in my hand and just about calming down.
My heart however is still with that little girl.
Who most definitely isn’t a little cunt.
But her parents, most definitely are.
I pray she will be ok.