A night in the theatre with sparkling chandelier lights high up close to the ceiling. There is something lovely in the old fashioned quaintness, quiet carpets, the uniforms of the ushers. Bright lights on the stage, in the darkness, the soft wool of your jumper against my arm.
I am sitting in the park one day – in a grump about something with soggy feet – and there is a sudden brightening, the wind lifting up and a break in the clouds, just for a second.
At the start of the week Lauren moved in and I like the sound of her moving in the morning, running bathwater and the smell of her perfume. It is good to have her in London, good for her to be here.
Midweek it is Burns Night and there is a supper in a pub in South London – football on in the background and the shining brass fixtures on the wooden bar. Being with the girls and family and my Dad, bagpipe music, Ken in his kilt and old poems.
I am busy in work but squeeze in a quick morning coffee with Dad before he catches the train north. On the table is your mug of tea, my coffee glass, the lines of your spectacle legs against mine. Something about you and your voice always calms me, balances my mind. Coming around the corner and heading back to work there is sunlight and rain, the market stalls are beginning to heat up huge sheets of metal where they will fry meat. I wonder where Peter the fruit and veg man has gone; his stall hasn’t been in the street since the New Year.
This week someone has started locking their bike next to mine on the same lamp post. I wonder who they are. A tabby cat suns itself on a window ledge.
One evening I cycle to meet Al in Trafalgar Square. Along the Strand the frail nail moon is a clip in the sky and the column is white up ahead. In the coffee shop the room stretches back with big mirrors on the walls. It is so good to see her again and we talk and talk – bread and cheese and olives on the table, the lights bright around us. A couple are on a date on one side of us and a mother and daughter sharing a bottle of wine on the other. I cycle home through Smithfield Market and at half ten the pubs are noisy, bright, orange. Silent lines of lorries, crates, freights, locked gates ready for the early morning trade.
Friday night and I meet Sian in a wigwam on a rooftop bar. It is good to see her, to catch up on our lives. Around us are office buildings, glass squares where we watch a man still at his desk.
Borough Market with the girls on Saturday morning, milk heart shape.
In the afternoon, Archer and I go to Brighton for a football match. Geordie voices, black and white stripes on the train, in the station, along the seafront. There is the green square pitch, floodlights, applause cracking like fireworks. Cold concrete, warm gloves and I fall asleep on him on the train home.
That last day of the week Lauren and I walk through Chinatown. There are paper lanterns, drums, a dancing dragon and crackers snapping off the tarmac. It feels fitting somehow: her year in China, her first week in London, the new year for us all. Later, us three girls stand arms looped to watch the fireworks over the square, white and red in the greying sky.