An audio version of this post is available here.
London is the love of my life.
I have said this elsewhere, in other words in other years: I meant it.
I cannot imagine loving a human being in the same ‘no feet on the floor’ way that I love London. The tide and change of it, the bones of it, the flow, the light and grime and shine and profligacy, the ancient silver ache of it, the black toothed kiss. I cannot love it more. I need it.
Does it love me? I don’t know. I love it so much it doesn’t matter.
I am leaving it. I am leaving you. London. And unless I win the lottery I will never be able to return to you again, other than as a visitor, an ex standing awkwardly in the hall that used to be home, unsure what to do with my hands, noticing the new wallpaper, waiting for the kids to get their coats on. The idea is too large to be grasped as a whole. I catch the hem of it sometimes and panic, all the air goes out of me. It is exhilarating because it hurts. Because it is a mad, cold act of vandalism. It is the first feeling I have had for a long time. You stay alive by making decisions.
You stay alive by making decisions.
No point making small ones. And look, look how alive I am now. Do you see the words on this page? After all this silence. All the still; today I ran through the bones of you, London. You smell better than anything. I will visit you. You will go on without me. I will go on without you.
I am as calm as licked fur, all of me combed in one direction: towards the unlikely, the difficult, the irrevocable. How unnerving and bright and thrilling life is, once more.