It’s Wednesday evening and we’re on the Victoria Line. A young man strums a guitar and sings while his friend harmonises. Their refrain is “You mean the world to me” and I don’t know whether that’s a popular song in the charts that I have never heard, or of it is their own composition. I hope the latter.
The train pulls into Stockwell Station, where Jean Charles De Menezes was shot dead by CO5 officers. It is also the interchange with the Northern Line, so we get up to leave.
In quick succession, two images drift into my eye-line and draw my attention for the same reason. First, there is a photograph in the Evening Standard of an athlete in Team GB colours, her surname pinned to her chest. It is Lynsey Sharp, the Scot who has qualified for the final of the 800 metres.
Then, as I step off the train and walk towards the tunnel to the other platforms, I double-take at a crude A4 photocopy taped to the tiles. It announces the disappearance of 12 year old Tia Sharp. She is a Londoner and has been missing for six days, but these facts have not penetrated my consciousness until now.
There is no link between these two stories. Certainly no cosmic significance in the shared surname. That the ‘moments’ of these two people should overlap is a co-incidence. I wonder if someone else, who did not share their surname, would even make a connection between them. Who else but me would mention them together? (These guys, maybe?)
However, now that connection has been made, one cannot help but compare and contrast their stories. One woman, Lynsey Sharp is at the peak of her career, maybe the most significant achievement of her life. Meanwhile, the life of Tia Sharp is in crisis. She is missing, feared dead.
Together, they will be the faces of the moment. Briefly, the wallpaper to our commute… until their narratives are resolved one way or another, and our attentions turn to someone else.