Our Stop - Laura Jane Williams



‘Shit. Shit, shit, shit.’

Nadia Fielding launched down the escalator of the tube station, her new sandals flapping with force underfoot. If people didn’t move out of her way because of the swearing, surely they would for the massive thwack she made each time a sole hit the step. She cursed ever having swiped up on the Instagram link, and she cursed the blogger who had made the black leather monstrosities look chic – and comfortable – enough to buy. They were giving her a blister already. Fuck you, whiskyandwhimsies, Nadia thought to herself. I hope your next sponsored trip to the Amalfi Coast falls through.

Coffee held precariously in her hand, bag slipping from her shoulder, sunglasses beginning to slide off the top of her head, Nadia was a mess – but she’d be damned if she wasn’t getting the 7.30. Today was the first day of The New Routine to Change Her Life, and The New Routine to Change Her Life meant catching the train on time.

She struggled with this. Midnight bedtimes after a night out with Emma or Gaby (she was healing a dented heart! Wine is so delicious!) and a general tendency towards being more of a night owl than an early riser (to think she knew people who did Super Spin before work!) both conspired to intensify Nadia’s love affair with the snooze button. She only accomplished being on time for work about once a week, normally on a Monday. She thanked god she lived alone in a flat that technically her mother owned but that meant she didn’t need roommates – no matter what time she got up, at least there was never a queue for the bathroom.

Monday was a perpetual Fresh Start – but often by the time Nadia put a Netflix series on that night, little had changed. She was always very conscientious between getting up and just before lunch, though. It was Monday afternoons that undid her. It couldn’t be helped. The working week was just so agonizingly long, and she spent her whole life trying to catch up with herself. She was sick of being exhausted. A viral BuzzFeed article had called it ‘Millennial Burnout’. But, that’s not to say Nadia couldn’t achieve big things when she put her mind to it – recently she’d polished off all seven seasons of The Good Wife in little under three weeks. Unfortunately, however, there was no way to leverage her binge-watching-of-American-lawyers-in-impossibly-tight-skirts-with-bizarrely-sassy-retorts-to-chauvinism skill into a salaried position. And so, life went on in a muddle. Well, until today. Today was the first day of the rest of her life.

Nadia’s New Routine to Change Her Life wasn’t to be confused with a Fresh Start, because obviously The New Routine to Change Her Life would not fail, like previous attempts. This time it would be different. She would be different. She’d become the woman one step ahead of herself. The sort of woman who meal-prepped for the week in matching Tupperware, who didn’t have to renew her passport at exorbitant cost the week before a holiday but instead recognized the expiration date with a three-month lead time and didn’t get frustrated at the confusing form at the Post Office. She was to become the kind of woman who had comprehensive life insurance and a closet full of clothes already ironed, instead of crisis-steaming wrinkled & Other Stories dresses five minutes before she had to run for the bus. Nadia would become, when her new plan became her new reality, a beacon of Goop-like organization and zen. More Namaste than Nama-stay-in-bed. She’d be the Gwyneth Paltrow of Stamford Hill, with slightly wonkier teeth.

‘Excuse me! Sorry!’ she screeched, to nobody in particular and everyone all at once, as she approached the platform at speed. She normally hated the people that shoved her out of the way in tube stations and at bus stops, as if they were the only folks with anywhere important to be. On more than one occasion she’d shouted after an elbow-barger, ‘EXCUSE YOU!’ in pointed frustration. But today, this morning, she was the selfish oaf pushing through the commuting crowds, and she didn’t have time to be embarrassed about it. The new Nadia was perhaps a little ruder than her old self, but goddamnit she was also more punctual. (She suddenly had an echo of the shrill soprano of her GCSE English teacher, who would intone, ‘To be early is to be on time, to be on time is to be late … and to be