11 Mar


I came back to my tiny room this week.

I hadn’t reckoned with the difficulty of returning to the scene of the crime. To smells and sounds of another era. To a mountain of undone laundry, half a pack of soggy Bran Flakes, a love poem tucked into the back of my food cupboard.

A dog barks. The pipes groan. I’m thrown back to last year, when I had hope. Even the way the light seeps under the blind, the shadow of my towels on the back of the wardrobe door, my boots tucked under the chest of drawers since I last wore them over a year ago.

I wonder if traces of him persist, although he wasn’t here much time at all.

I finally take the bottle-green tote bag from my doorknob. It holds a sheaf of papers from the directing course I took last February: scripts, explanations, reading lists. I left it there in, what? The belief that in a few weeks it would all be over and I could put on a production of A Streetcar Named Desire?

I left it there because in this suspended animation in which we’ve been living for the past year, it seemed unvital to unpack. Same as I left the love notes in amongst my penne, because it was just a pause while we figured it out, and I could wait.

I could wait.

I don’t even have anywhere to put the boots. I just leave them, creased from an evening walk sometime when I was in love. 


I’m walking up the hill from town. When I say town, I mean it in the London sense. Town, where people can’t help but drift together in flocks.

I see a woman crossing the road and I recognise her straight away. She was in the chorus of a show with me, Oklahoma, such a very long time ago that I wonder if she will recognise me. I call her name, anyway. She’s confused at first, but when I explain, she remembers.

She asks for my number and says we should catch up. I’d like that. Even if we don’t, it feels like a good omen, as it always does when one stumbles across a familiar face in this city of millions.

I think, am I the same person I was then?

Or have the cells of my body sloughed off and been replaced with something gradually more broken?

Maybe it doesn’t matter. Someone I last spoke to thirteen years ago gave me a smile and it reminds me that sometimes, just sometimes, you can be in the right place at the right time.

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