on that one day in London

The streets are bright and busy. The summer sun leaves shadows on the architecture, with buildings reflecting the rays before it begins to set at nine thirty in the evening. I cross Hyde Park Corner and decide to walk into the park instead of taking that bloody number ten bus down Kensington High street at rush hour. The skaters are out weaving their way on their roller blades down the path, mummies and nannies pushing their prams, people sitting out on the grass soaking in every inch of the rare sunshine we have been getting. The Serpentine glistens as the ducks flap their way across it. Should I keep walking? I stop for a 99 flake from a ice cream truck further down and feel like a little girl walking down through the park past Kensington Palace. I want to hold this moment forever. 

Another summer day and I can’t wait to get out of this stuffy office as my desk piles up with purchase orders and invoices. I’m also tired from that long shift at the pub last night. Perhaps those two wind down large glasses of wine at one in the morning wasn’t a great idea. The back roads of Great Portland Street are lined with smokers and delivery vans as I walk towards Regents Park just for me to breathe in that ‘me’ time. A nice cigarette, my bacon and egg sambo and my music. Just for this hour. Thank goodness for this greenery in the middle of the city, an hour just to escape, an hour to pretend I am lying on the beach somewhere in the Mediterranean. Sleeves and trouser legs rolled up, as if my skin would brown with the London sunshine. Who was I kidding? But it felt good. And every person on their lunch break sitting on their own patch of green felt exactly the same way I did. 

The streets are cold and misty, that crisp breeze gently wisps through my cardigan. Springtime tulips are coming out as I cross Brook Green park to catch my tube at Hammersmith station. The local Starbucks is packed but I stop for my chai soy latte, daydreaming while I watch people cross the broadway, each rushing to where they have to be. The pie shop next door whiffs its smell across the station. Should I stop for one? No time, have to get to class. Ah shit. I missed the train anyway. Bloody District line. Shouldn’t have gotten that latte.  

My front door never felt so far away. It’s freezing. I bloody hate winter. Shit. I wore the wrong shoes. My toes feel like they are falling off. Fuck. I dropped my glove and now it is all wet. I shouldn't have taken them off on the tube. Dammit. I should have remembered to bring my umbrella to shield me from this pathetic excuse for snow. Why did I choose to live five blocks away from the tube station in the middle of Chiswisk? There aren’t even any buses to take me closer to my flat. Bloody Stanford Brook. Did I mention I hate winter? 

That bottle of wine warms us up as we sit in Boheme Kitchen in the heart of Soho just before Christmas. V and I on our second bottle of some fabulous New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc.  The cinnamon smell from the mulled wine hovers throughout and my cheeks are flushed from the warmth in the pub. Are the heaters turned on too high? Or perhaps its the wine? We walk out as the cold stops my breath for a minute. It’s sharp but kind as the wine circulates my blood. I watch my husband and V skip down Old Compton Road, arm in arm, like a pair of old friends when in fact they just met. This is what it’s all about. This is what London is. It’s as if I’ve literally frozen and life moves amazingly fast around me, with traces of light following everyones footsteps. This is my London and I’m in it. And then I run down the road to catch up as we walk through the doors of Bar Soho to grab ourselves vodka mojitos in the middle of a winter evening that I actually love.
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