What have I been doing? I forgot about the city. But today I was reminded that there’s more to life than Woolwich. I remembered how I love those dusty tube tracks and the ferrous air that comes pushing at us as the trains approach. The sound of iron against iron, the clunking noise travelling down the tiled walls with their poetic Jack Daniels adverts. I love the variety of people and buildings and shops and absurdities. I love the people with crazy hats and purple hair. I love the way the busker’s accordion tunes echo down the tunnels, making me feel like I’m in Amélie.
I love the graffiti and the wall art; people making their mark on the city. I love the old bricks and the worn cobblestones. I love the surprises lurking around every corner.
I love the way I can just go and sit by the canal and some crazy girl will talk to me and a bunch of Brazilians will play guitar for us. I love the way a pint of Noble glints in the afternoon sunlight. I love the willows gently dipping their branches into the canal, rippling their way through the lock.
I love the smell of food from every country in the world. I love meeting Italians and yelling “FIGO!” and “dolce far niente” in their faces and we all laugh. I love practicing my Spanish with random Colombian ladies who tell me “buena suerte!” and smile at me with their whole being.
I love the lady’s voice on the DLR – “The next stop is West Silvertown” (which always smells like poppers). Ten years later I’m sitting on the same DLR train, listening to the same Bright Eyes songs about city life and heartbreak, yet everything is different and so much has happened. I love the many memories that have nestled themselves into the very fabric of this city, in every corner (apart from the west – why would anyone ever go to Shepherd’s Bush? East side forever, yo.)
I’ve been such a silly girl, hiding in our little penthouse so far away from everyone. From now on I will spend my days in the city, not in Woolwich with all its drills and cranes and deceiving jippos (personal experience, not prejudice). I’ve met some funny people today, and had some nice conversations in three different languages. I’ve bought beautiful dresses and finally found the hat I’ve always been looking for. On the Northern Line, a man in a suit dropped a yellow jelly bean on the train floor and we looked at each other and laughed, and for some reason that felt really nice. I’ve sung along to Elvis hits in the street and realised that nobody cares. I can do what I want. This life is for me. I’m such a lucky girl.