Mind the Gap

By Nadia de Castro

Mia likes the concept of being rich; having a glass of Shiraz in Saint-Raphael, though she doesn’t quite know where it is, having a house with an en suite and a double sink, and maybe buying a horse. The details aren’t significant, this isn’t a carefully constructed dream, but part of a bigger unfolding narrative; the beginning of her pursuit to be someone who is anything but unnoticeable.

Mia borrows words from television and steals her sentences from films. Her attitude to life comes from two things; the first is living in one of the richest neighbourhoods in London (in the world probably) with people who drive Ferraris and wear couture. The second is living in the smallest flat of the council building that everyone says has seen better days, though she suspects the ‘better days’ must have been centuries ago.

She wants to hop out of the void that is her parent’s home, through the gap, into the world right outside her window. She suffers from a deep ingenuity that only teenagers who watch too much television can suffer from; she thinks she will come to inhabit that unreachable world if only she works hard, with passion and sacrifice. After all, that’s what every award-winning actor she admires promises her through the screen.

Today, Mia takes longer than her schoolmates at the lunch line, undecided whether to pick the tuna bake or the cold pizza slice, saying to herself she is a food enthusiast. When she takes the first bite of her tuna bake, she makes a point of chewing it slowly. “This is stunning, don’t you think?” she asks her schoolmates.

After lunch, she makes a dramatic entrance into the courtyard, which appears today to be boundless. She sits on the concrete steps and crosses her legs as if sitting on a velvet chair in a hotel lounge. She stares at her worn and tattered black trainers and tells herself they’re timeless.

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Nadia de Castro designs logos for a living and has written/directed short films and plays. Her short stories are published in Cabinet of Heed, Nymphs, Tipping the Scales, and Truffle. She lives in London with her wife. Twitter @nadiacastrouk Instagram @nadiastaysstill

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