I’m in love with my town. You know this already, but sometimes I forget it. This past weekend I spent most of my time writhing around in agony because I’d inadvertently blasted my eye with an ironically heart-shaped balloon. It popped right on my eyelid-less eyeball, so you can imagine the struggle that was for me.
It was a pretty dark time.
So yesterday afternoon, feeling flush with cabin fever, I opted for dark sunglasses, a baseball cap and a quick breezy trip into town to meet friends for gelato (can’t shake this Italian-induced addiction). One thing led to another, and when all of my friends had actually gone home, I decided to stay- regardless of the rain pouring down on me and the darkness settling in finally at around 8.15pm (a fact that’s beautiful to me in and of itself). I got soaked, but I didn’t care; because when you get down to it, I believe London is at its best in the rain. It’s clearer, it’s somehow brighter, and the light around things lends a crispness to the air. Tourists run for cover in the tiny phone boxes they were desperate to snap iconic pictures in, and suddenly there’s a ghost-like absence on the pavements.
I crossed the Thames river using Embankment Bridge, which aside from a few scattered people running for shelter, was relatively empty. I love Embankment Bridge. The view from both sides of the pedestrian walkways are astounding. I was on the west side, so my view happened to be Waterloo, the financial district and St. Paul’s Cathedral- all shining under this blanket of dew. My iPod seemed inspired, churning out the most suited songs. I turned to continue walking the bridge and noticed that amongst those running to get to their destinations, just two of us were taking our time, unaffected by the downpour. He was walking towards me, hair and skin slick with rain. He looked like a movie poster. His dark shirt was open at the neck, his stride was demanding but somehow also meandering, his hands in his pockets.
I can’t tell you how perfect and epic my iPod-accompaniment of this moment was.
Our eyes locked as we approached one another, fearless and unembarrassed, then when we were finally about a metre apart, we came to our senses and did the eye-dart to look away. The air moved as we passed one another and he was gone. Completely uninhibited, I dared to do the “look-back”, turning to find him.
There he was, doing the same!
We both laughed, neither one of us breaking our respective strides, and with huge smiles, we carried on our ways. It was a fleeting moment, but it was one that made my night perfect. He was experiencing the same thing as me- we were free, and we were part of the most incredible city on earth.
I walked and walked, not wanting to finally get on my tube home.
So this is going to be my new thing. If ever you can’t get a hold of me, it’s because I’m trying to get lost in my town.