Brief Leave

Dear London

Leaving you is light relief. Traveling through you with a pull along suitcase is not.

I do a performance on a Saturday afternoon in Chelsea, to warm group of people who talk to me after. You feature in it briefly, as you usually do. I’m glowing after, happy in humanity.

Then charging through you on a Saturday afternoon through station concourses, people scattering around, takes me away from myself. No longer warm, seething and speeding I’m angry at the day trippers taking up the space, idle chatter, idle wondering, pointless picture taking. I’m more than ready to leave you by the time I reach Euston. And this weekend I’m going to spend time with the city I’m leaving you for.

Euston station, built on the graves of the ancient dead, plague victims dug up, moved somewhere else. Or is that Kings Cross?

Euston was always the gateway to visiting you, touching that concourse was being in you. Free from Watford, just that 20 minutes away. There was always a relief in leaving that small town suburbia, to visit you, happy to watch its shopping centre, and limited life slide away from the train. But now it’s you I ache to leave. Slide out of the station, past Camden, up Past Watford and onwards, up.

Running commentary about the london landmarks, your landmarks distract me as I try to sleep on the train. The narrator has a thick Brummie accent.

I know the places he talks about, work in one of the landmarks he mentions, and get the bus route he speaks of with enthusiasm. Talks with authority on London, with you, with his out of town accent, where to go, what to do. Then he goes on to list places in my new home to be, that I know already, local knowledge that I can take pride in. Even that, the chat among strangers, just for talking is not something that happens often in you. Always in transit, away from you.

I arrive in the main station in Birmingham, an hours and a bit after I have left you. And remember. She is not so different to you. People just stand on both sides of the esculator. Crowds of people, Saturday. Its not such big move to leave you.

Straight for the taxi rank, something I’d rarely do in you ( as discussed taxi’s in you are only used as a necessary expense, for the carrying of heavy objects or out of town friends.)

Talk to the driver, like I know where I’m going, up the alcester road, at the back of kings Heath, yeah that’s right. And I do recognise the journey, these little acts of betrayal to you. But because of the nap, and because of the small amount of time I’ve spent leaving you (less time that it can take to get from one side of you to the other, something people never get bored of saying).
I still feel like I’m in your outskirts.

But its another city, bright lights, late nights. And just as I settle in to the journey, a sense of sadness to you, another Saturday night missed in your parameters, suddenly see Euston and other London haunts as they will be, and I’m sad that I’m not there, and I’m sad that I can’t be with you the way I used to be, that I’ll be happier some where else. Somewhere a little like you, but not quite. And I’ll start to forget you, your streets, and you’ll start to change , keep on growing. And you won’t be mine anymore, you never really were, I wont recognise you, your streets. You’ll become a holiday destination, a place I used to know.


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