Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The feet of people walking home

I don’t think a day goes by that I don’t miss London.
 Spring semester of my junior year of college, I arrived in London.  I had scrapped and saved for two years, and had been dreaming of this trip for over five years.  For three months, I studied, I went on tour after tour, and I wandered and wondered. I did so much of that--walking through the city, thinking, just drinking it all in.  I left friends, family, and boyfriend in the States, but, somehow, I was home. 

 “Die Alone” by Ingrid Michaelson plays and I’m walking down Baker Street, looking for my mother’s hotel, as she’s come to visit me for my 21st birthday, and the world is bright. “Sad Sad City” by Ghostland Observatory comes on, and I’m dancing with Mark on the Tube like we’re the only people in the world. I still remember the hand motions we created. I play “My Moon, My Man” by Feist, and Kellye and I groove down the street on Russell Square, ignoring every stranger because we are young and alive. It’s all that matters.   There is a quiet, warming joy, the kind that makes you smile like you have a splendid secret, and you skip a little as you go, greeting every stranger like a friend.  I was at home, walking those streets. Some days, I miss the walking more than anything.

I walk into the hotel sitting room in my pjs where Mark and Billy drink beers, hiding them whenever someone walks by. Mark tells me I looked pretty, standing there in a cami and checkered pants, and I retorted, tactlessly, “It’s because I have boobs, right?” and he laughs.  The three of us talk about television, and, next thing I know, Billy is showing me his favorite Family Guy clips while I am perched in the chair beside his. After I had gone to bed Billy went into the basement and told everyone, “I’ve just been watching Family Guy for like an HOUR with Sarah Pete, and she’s actually really cool.” I was "in" from that moment on—the breasted girl without tact who loved Youtube and hated shopping.

Me, Mark, Kellye, and Billy's hands posing as one of the "Last Supper" pieces we studied in Art History. We ate lunch down in the hotel basement--miss that little place.
I love gray, dreary days because I’m back there, back on Trafalgar Square, Piccadilly Circus, and Leicester Square. If it’s particularly cold and grim, I’m at Dover Castle, trying to spy the French coastline through the mist.  Almost every day in England is gray and sunless, with a chill in the wind and always the threat of rain. 

I am in the Tate Modern (that our art professor called “rubbish”), staring in awe at a Jackson Pollock piece or in the V&A Museum, adoring the marble sculptures, my favorite. Maybe I’m lost in the British Museum, soaking up history, or exploring the vast Science Museum with Melissa who devours the medical section.  God, there are no museums like there are in London.  I could get lost forever and be happy as a clam for the rest of my days.

A piece of the Berlin Wall at the WWII Museum
I am back in Piccadilly Circus at night, on my way to a play, and, suddenly, without reason I NEED a new book. I haven’t read anything new in a month and dart into a book store like a woman possessed, rushing downstairs into the basement where I am surrounded by paperback classics. I buy Frankenstein and Moby Dick and feel as if my heart is whole again.

When I want to walk in the woods, I remember Ambleside in the Lake Country, and it feels like a fairytale. I’m convinced it’s one of the most beautiful places in the world, lost in a forest that you know must be filled with faeries, if you’re looking in the right place.

I open a book by Lewis, and I remember the Eagle and Child.  I’m in Oxford, and it’s the worst kind of dreary—perpetually gray with rain that’s almost more a thick mist. You’re freezing and soaked only because it doesn’t stop. I separate from the group to seek out the famous pub, and I am hopelessly lost. I have no watch, no phone, and I am terrified that I will not only be left behind but never find my destination, my purpose for coming to England in the first place: to sit where they sat, to see where they smoked, and drank, and dreamed together, a group of brilliance who changed everything.  I found it, and everything was beautiful.

I’m on our coach, sitting up front with Paul our driver who is every bit Irish—witty and never to be taken seriously—trying to take pictures of the Scottish Highlands, again, one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen.  We travel up through Scotland, down through Wales, and then back to London.  The first place we visit is St. Andrews—the home of golf—and I know, If my heart were a place, it would be St. Andrews with its rocky seaside, where I perched for hours. No Spring Break will ever compare to this one.

Every time I see a picture or a shot of London, something in my aches a little.  When you find home, you’re always longing for it. It never stops, not even once, as the years go by.  It will always be my soul’s city.

“After all this time?”


  1. Hey girl! I'm stopping by from the blog hop. I'm one of the co-hosts! Thanks for linking up!

    I hope you're having an awesome day! :)


  2. Hey lady!! I just found your cute blog via the hop, and I'm your newest follower! I'd also love to have you check out a fabulous Triple Giveaway I'm having right now!!

    Hope to see you there! And thanks so much!


  3. I really, REALLY miss the museums of London like the V & A. They're all just so cool and within walking distance or a tube ride. Loved it!
    And thank you! I'm so glad you like my pictures! :]


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