It was the smell of rain that I missed the most and the sound of a lawnmower and the waft of cut grass. It was being out in the open and standing bare foot! Blue skies part and parcel of it all; the thunder that would blast over and leave―the coming of a tropical sundown, an evening of barbecues, of warm pools, beer splattering on concrete. The bed awaiting, a vest, a body glistening from perspiration and a sleep of pillows constantly changing sides, a mosquito in the ear. Sleepless nights that were all you knew. And then, one day I left it behind. I moved to a city, to grim faced pallid movements, and there I became with them a ghost on the sidewalks. Dimly, ambling along with my face down, watching my steps and hurrying towards my quotidian activities.
Winters I spent indoor in solace. My flat mates―the friends I had―worked day and night. They were accustomed to leaving the soul behind, the need for money was so official. I would spend nights in the strange house, with creaks of a wall I did not know, and sit by the phone that our landlord had locked, and think of conversations of the past, of my mother’s voice ringing, of my best friend whom I would lose contact with, and I would write letters, letters I would never send, letters that clutched the truth―that only I knew. I would cry, tears staining the ink, a smudged idea of love. I was temping then, doing mindless data entry, tapping words into a computer, and moving on wondering what worth there was, and how to find it. My flat mates would come home just before midnight―Mark and Craig, my two best friends. I would smile inwardly and outwardly and make them tea, a sandwich, sit with them and live their lives, hear their stories, flourish in company. Sleep would be eschewed, I yearned for comfort, and company eased the etching of loneliness.
I drank a lot, I had a job and I met people, and I continued my ambling in a city that was not mine. Every Friday my work offered free drinks and I catapulted towards the bar, I sipped ferociously at the wine, the beer, I got horrifically drunk and so the person that I was not, but so yearned to be would come out. She, loud, vivacious, articulate would spend the evening conversing with strangers, laughing and sometimes, flirting! I seemed to step out of myself and watch in amazement. After drinks, I would stumble to the Palladium to meet Mark and Craig―they both worked there as ushers. I would arrive as they were finishing work and we would sit in the bar and I would continue, I would drink.
One night we fell drunk into the house. I lit a cigarette; I sat down and my mind triggered off dull thuds of depression. I went to the bathroom and in a mode of translucent mania I took out a razor blade and in numb motions slowly cut at my wrist, tears streaming down my face, I stopped as soon as I started, my aim was wrong―it was in the name of attention, except I would tell nobody, the attention was all to myself. Quietly, I wrapped my stinging arm with toilet paper, walked to my room and put on a jersey so as to cover the threat, the childish self abuse. I lay and quickly wiped my tears as I heard the friendly footsteps of Mark and Craig. They stood and bantered and eventually I followed them downstairs, and listened to Bob Marley, and Redemption song, my favorite song―”Sold I to the merchant ships…”
And so, I stood on the tube, Dollis Hill to Marylebone and I stared at the scars on my wrist. The scars of stupidity that only I knew of, I was entranced, as though it were not me―it’s never me. I swayed to the motion of the train, the city was corrupting me, my soul was slowly bitten, I wanted to yell out my mind, but it all seeped inwards, I was boring myself with my own pleas.
It got better, as it does get better, as you know no better and I sunk into my life, I slowly enjoyed its offerings, I adjusted to the climate, to the people and one day as I walked outside my new flat―not mine of course, but my temporary abode that I rented, as I took out the garbage on a autumn Saturday―in my pyjamas, with the TV and the glow of comfort, I looked at the grey, I sucked it in and I quite enjoyed it―it’s romantic quality, it’s gloom appealed to me, as it would eventually with my nature. I liked it. I went inside, and shivered―a content chill, I enjoyed the cold and the idea of being able to get warm and I lay on the couch with my toes under a cushion, an inane program keeping me entertained. It all grows on you.
I went home, eventually. I spent five months appreciating the beauty, the climate, the content natures surrounding me. I ate healthy food, I listened to a language I had forgotten about, I roamed on farms that were not mine, went to wine harvests, put on high factors to shield out the sun, spend days lamenting the heat. But, it was not time, I was unable to indulge as the city, London, was still with me, my love and loathing relationship was still continuing, I was still meant to be there, whether unhappy or not. I could not explain it, it’s not the city I suppose, it’s me―I need to be content. I left, I left what I love so much, no great epiphany, just not at that moment. One day home will come to me, or I will go to home and I await the knowledge in peace.