London is a transport jungle. I have crisscrossed this city by bus, tube and car so many times in the past week and I have barely covered more than 8 square miles. I will always know these streets as my own, having walked them countless times, but I now know for certain that big city living is not for me. Having said that, my Trini existence tends to operate within 100 steps either side of my house and that is too narrow a life for this city girl. I was raised on concrete not grass and my feet crave the steady pounding of a city street. Those feet have tracked many steps here in London, steps that have been surprised by snow, ancient cobbled streets, slick marble, gentle carpet and rooms filled with history.
I love London. Its walls that whisper as we pass, its sophistication, the cabs with drivers listening to interviews with their mayor, coffee shops that you need to squeeze through to get served, boutiques selling the softest cashmere beside the coldest stone, the temptations of shoes, silk, art and chocolate, the sounds of any languages except English, heard on a double decker bus. It is an enormous bulging noisy thriving crowded and often dirty and frustrating place. It is familiar but foreign, forever changing yet staying true to my memories. It is frankly too large. I have had a broken fountain pen in need of care for 10 years but the shop is just too far to get it fixed. By the end of the week, I am too tired of traipsing around, and too cross that I haven’t yet seen a single painting. I had let down friends and relatives for not seeing them more often, if at all, and yet I have enjoyed the warmth of my sister’s kitchen, visited doctors, book shops, the shrine of Marks&Spencers and got myself a job.
Every time I come home the love affair continues. A love affair filled with anger, lust, frustration, nostalgia, heartbreak, disappointment, inspiration and sadness. London lives in my heart.