There i was, standing on the tube at about quarter to nine this morning, reading the book i took out from the library on Saturday. The tube was packed with commuters trying to get to work on time. I wasn’t paying much attention to my surroundings as i was concentrating on my book but a shiver that rose up my spine shifted my attention as the tube came to a halt in the middle of the tunnel. I stood there hiding the sudden feeling of unease from my face. After a long 30 seconds, the driver said there was some signalling problems.
It wasnt the first time that it happened and on all occassions the tube managed to move within less than 30 seconds and the thought of that gave me hope. I steadied my heartbeats which had started to pound faster. As i looked around, i saw a woman removing her jumper. Then another one followed. I could see the restlessness and fear in the eyes of the people around me. This started to bring my hopes down. The tube was too packed to move round. I felt i was going to suffocate. My breathing was louder. I tried to control my breath but my heart was beating too fast. I thought i was going to die. I said to myself if i ever come out alive, i’ll look for another job. I just cant take it anymore – commuting by tube is too scary, i’ll die of a heart attack. I wanted to break open the tube’s door to get some fresh air. The warm and stale air inside was repulsing and my lungs were craving for some fresh oxygen which has become scarce because of the many people trying to breathe the same air. I wished the train would move so that i can get off at the next station and make my way home. I couldnt go to work! But that was if the train would move!
As i put my book back in my bag and loosen my jacket to overcome the undesired heat rising up my body, i felt the tube move. YES! It moved and i couldnt help but grin and sigh out of relief. Arriving at the next station, Seven Sisters, i wanted to get off to save myself from this misery, if it were to happen again, but decided to stay on because i had to get to work and i didnt have any other choice of transport anyway. I just live too far! I noticed the middle-aged black woman who was standing next to me get off to stand on the platform although i knew it wasnt her station. Guess she needed the relief just like i did.
It is this constant battle that we, commuters in London, have to face everyday – the fear of being bomb-blasted by terrorists combined with the scare of being stucked in the tunnel for a long period of time and being suffocated to death.