Cars rushing past the house, which is not yours. Traffic sounds, on an otherwise quiet centre town street. You sit on someone else’s balcony, eyes on the view. Buildings, so many buildings, probably built in the seventies. Ugly, apartment complex buildings, nothing else. A void settles in the midst of your ribcage. Inhale, Exhale. Air travels the tube, all the way through to your lungs, in a mechanically forced manner. You feel it stalling, as you expand your abdomen to inhale deeper. The weight of the breath traps in, the void fills, grows heavy.
I don’t want to be here.
10:40 on the clock, precisely 15:40 over there. You think of the streets you’ve walked, a mere two weeks ago. You think of the faces you saw, the excel spreadsheets you hated working on, the underground, the pubs, the nights out in Dalston, the parks you would go to soothe your busy mind, the meridian line, strolls through Brick Lane and that ethiopian vegan food stand, train commutes to the seaside, and even the 176. You think of your flat and your housemate. You think of that one evening in April when you both sat outside that old pub in Angel, staring at the street sign across from you, sharing your deepest thoughts and your respective neurosis with one another. It was cold and rainy, but sitting outside that old pub in Angel, just felt like the most right thing to do.
You think of all the commutes to Euston, after work. Ten minutes away from the station, there is a small Cyprian theatre, where a most inspirational 80 something year old man directs plays. He rarely eats, sleeps, or drinks water, but you’ve never met anyone with more passion, drive and sense of absolute humanly possible internal freedom. You remember all he months of intense rehearsal, and the liberation you felt during those two weeks of performing as a Dyonisian Initiate. You then think of the panto you were part of, and all the silliness it came with it. You think of all the amazing, talented, kind people you met, and remained friends with. You wish them, and the city were polly-pocket sized, and that you could, wherever you find yourself, open it and indulge in all the goodness you found in those years spent in that place across the sea.
You think of Emma and the day you met her in that cat cafe. It was two Octobers ago. She wore her blue coat, you wore your multicoloured sweater, she complimented you on it. She spoke about teaching, charity work, and other things. You did not have a clue then what an integral role she came to play in your life. It is funny like that, you never know where an afternoon latte in a cat cafe, or a walk across a bridge will take you. For me, it took me all the way through some of the best years of my life, to a train commute to the airport, having a shoulder to cry on, and two solid hands to reassure me that everything will be okay.
You look at the clothes you’re wearing, and nothing remains of that place, except the trainers you bought in a shop in Camden, the first month you arrived. The next morning, you ran across Waterloo Bridge, down to the Thames, running past the banks. Those banks that carry the history of your thoughts. Standing there, an evening in August, two years ago, looking at the view. You felt so alone, remember? You looked at the unfamiliar grand city before your eyes. On one side, the parliament houses, the London eye and its blue lights; on the other the majestic sight of St Paul’s cathedral, the Gherkin and the Shard standing tall and proud. Little did you know back then, the memories to be on all those streets, by all those landmarks and sights.