Working from home one day with a cold nose and cold toes and a bowl of coffee cupped in my hand. There is the sound of the builders outside, drilling and hammering and I open the window for a minute to let the freezing air in – when I do, there is the noise of a radio, chart music, their voices singing along.
I run one night over London Bridge which is thick with commuters, folded arms and newspapers and heads turned down. I have to push my way through their black bodies and when I turn to go down a flight of steps, the city is lit up in such a way I have to stop and stand with my hands on my hips, just for a second. Over Tower Bridge the next morning, the sun is burning pink in the white sky east over Canary Wharf.
The girls are around for dinner and we squeeze around the table in my flat under the slanted roof. Pasta and wine and nothing fancy, it’s just good to have them here.
Cycling to work one morning, I stop at a traffic light and the man next to me is singing opera on his bike. There is a lunchtime yoga class in a church hall near work: clanking water defrosting in radiators and someone’s hands on my back.
The morning trees on your streets are thin and scratching and I stand on your front step and wave back at the woman across the road leaving her house with a slice of toast in her mouth. Lines of black railings, white park – that odd sense of morning sleep against bus stops and the music of other people’s ipods.
Up north, his hometown and seeing Sarah in the snowy streets. We are arm in arm and the fur of her coat is wet against my hand. It is so good to see her and we talk about this year ahead and London and Manchester and places further away.
On the train back I make a card for Trods – I will address the envelope to my family home and Mum will take it to him. Perhaps he’ll be able to read it himself if I write carefully and not in my usual scrawl. Hold the pen straight, keep the letters even. Do you remember Manchester? Mum said you used to shout S. I. T. Y. CITY! A City fan like you. Lots of love and a line of kisses, blue glue stamp and red post box.