How could I forget that in London it rains? Frequently.
I packed for the cold; the weather is much like it is in NYC right now, but the rain is something I forgot to factor. The ‘inclement weather’, as it’s typically described on London Underground, surprises me as I walk out of the house, even though it was normal for 27 years of my life. Those icy droplets are bouncing off my non-waterproof coat, reminding me that I’m no longer a Londoner.
I arrive in The City and decide, as a once local, that I can walk from Holborn to Covent Garden. I realise that I no longer know the way; it’s only been four years. At points along my journey my internal compass kicks in and I find myself gravitating to where I need to be, unaware of how this has become common knowledge. My status as a once ‘proud Londoner’ feels insignificant in its elaborate history. I duck under strangers’ umbrellas as I walk, hoping they don’t notice my brazenness.
I arrive to meet a friend of 20 years and it feels like we saw each other only yesterday. He hugs me with a familiarity you can’t bottle. We’re hungry, so we find a tapas bar and order a bottle of red. Only then do we consider food.
We put the world to rights for a couple of hours, and I see a couple sat next to us wondering how we have so much to talk about. When lives are lived so far apart you miss things you’d normally be privy to day after day, but there are certain people that make you feel like you live next door from one another; life’s intricacies naturally knitting together in your conversations.
We move on, and find a Canadian bar; Semi Charmed Life by 3rd Eye Blind is humming in the background, reminding me of my turbulent teen days.
There’s a significant whiff of testosterone as we head for the bar; football, rugby and indie car racing are projecting from all directions. We order drinks and stand by the fruity. For those who don’t know, a ‘fruity’ is not a machine that omits pieces of fruit when you feed it dollars; it’s a gambling machine.
I’m a good few drinks in, and its getting a bit raucous so,
I’m relinquishing control…
Our Becca. As she sits in good ol’ fashioned English pub, pondering her temporary return, albeit brief, back “home” to London, we see that she’s somewhat overwhelmed with her thoughts. And so… the phone becomes ours. We now take control of today’s words.
A friend returning to us, from what seems like a world away, is precious. You miss the face, the words, the laughter, the nuances that remind you why you became friends in the first place.