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'Queens of Cuba Street' - Sadie Galloway (Year 11)

Updated: Aug 1, 2019

I keep my eyes on the concrete surrounding my feet. Remnants of McDonald’s circle an overflowing rubbish bin and the shadows of heavy coats plaster the ground. Gum dots the corners and cracks of Cuba Street like an infection. Black and white spectres brush past me, their hands clawing plastic shopping bags.

This is a temporary bliss: a child staining their new white top with smears of a brown Snickers bar, the wrapper catching the wind home to the gutter. Crouching heads tilt downwards staring into their screens, absorbing everything they are fed yet they are not satiated.

I eavesdrop a man’s conversation on the phone. He is reciting information to his co-workers like he has done it a thousand times before. His wrist frequently lifts to check the time. Smoke drifts from the lips of the woman behind me and buries itself deep inside her tailored jacket. My eyes fall back to my own worn- out sneakers as I sit down on a bench.

I hear them first: their mighty heels clink against the bricks beneath them. Everyone’s eyes dart towards them, simultaneously, but they are not fazed. They continue to walk past the stares. It is as if wherever they step, a red carpet magically appears,. Just for them. Heads hoisted high, the Queens stride past, all green lace and glitter, hot pink heels and Dolly Parton wigs. My eyes are sealed, like the spirit glue that keeps their perfectly styled hair attached to their heads.

“Bunny Holiday, Bombay Bombshell, you’re up!” a woman calls. Everyone crowds towards them. Their faces lift towards the colour. The street is now overflowing with music. Together they vogue, their arms piercing the air in time with the beat. The one they call King Chloe steps onto the stage and then surprises everyone with a death drop. Her magenta boots pounding against the ground.

I realise there is a smile on my face, brushing away my previous boredom. The child stained with chocolate is copying the dancers moves, jumping up and swirling in circles until eventually she falls into a hysterical ball of giggles on the ground. The man in his suit puts away his phone and I notice that he doesn’t peek at his watch once throughout the entire performance. Even the woman with the cigarette has taken off her ja Want to add a caption to this image? Click the Settings icon. cket and revealed underneath is a vibrant top patterned with cerulean blue peacock feathers.

The urge to speak to them is becoming unbearable. I rise off the bench I have been stuck to for so long, and move towards the stage. One of the Queens turns towards me. Her head is framed by a garland of rose coloured flowers and dangling leaves. I imagine lifting the garland and placing it on my own head. I imagine being her.

“Excuse me,” I ask daringly, “I was wondering where you bought your headpiece?”

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