Walking along the riverside one day after work and I can hear the blurred voice magnified through a microphone from a boat full of tourists and a guide telling them about the buildings, this brown river. His voice echoes as they pass under London Bridge. It is slightly cooler than the last few weeks, more spring like, blowing through itself. I’m thinking about the weekend ahead, speaking to Claire and getting excited. She’ll come down on the overnight bus from Glasgow. I remember that small city up north – living together, walking fifteen minutes to a friend’s flat, to Mennies on a Tuesday night (smoke, squeezed in with the boys and Fabs’s brother on his fiddle). Now there are date and diaries, tickets and expensive fares.
Running along the canal one night with a sudden heavy downpour. The material of my top soaked through like a wet sheet onto red goosy skin. Under the bridges, the water is flat green black. Raindrops like ellipsis, silver white grey. The canal boats shuttered up and the smoke from tin chimneys tasting like wood. Inside, hot bath and the football is on.
I meet Dad for a very quick half hour cup of tea and he shows off his tan from a few days skiing with his friend. His postcard which arrived that morning had made me laugh and I had tucked it into my mirror. When he leaves to catch his train, I sit for a while longer and watch the water in the concrete lake shiver in the wind. There are families around me and two children are wriggling, wanting to go outside and play.
An Easter card from my parents with kind words inside. I sit it on the top of my bookshelf and run my finger along the top of the fold.
Easter bank holiday with the girls. Their faces and voices. We sit in the dock with the spring sunshine and glasses of pale wine. High heels and holding hands, Camden black and yellow and neon light. Blossom on the road outside their house and we walk as two and two, switching and alternating, arms linked.
There is a cut above your eye and your skin is bruised purple from Saturday night. Wooden walls in the afternoon pub and in my house with the rain outside. Phil and I sit in the busy restaurant at night and the waiter remembers us from before. We lean over the table to hear each other speak and talk about how I can’t write his name. But there it is.