On the early train out of the city for a meeting and in Waterloo Station the four faces of the clock tell us the time wherever we stand. I drink an expensive coffee in a takeaway cup, liking the bitter taste waking me up, eat breakfast on the move. As I am leaving, the sole one walking to the train, there are floods coming against me, carrying briefcases, gym bags, fold-up bikes – the first wave of the morning commute.
South of the city, heading out, and there is spring light on the fields
My grandpa passed away and now the light is different.
Because, on the day it happened, I don’t know what to do with myself and because I’m sure they’ll charge me if I cancel, I’m in an east London hairdresser – too trendy for me. I feel straight, plain, salty with dried tears next to these stylish ones.
But later and with inches off my hair, my mind full of mundane chat, I feel lighter – and in the park, there is mud scraped in lines on the insides of my calves where my feet have pulled.
The weekend of the funeral and my godmother is down. Though there are too many things to do – orders of service to pick-up, carpets to hover, flowers to arrange – mum and Mary and I sit in the Gardens. Around us, chair legs scrape and children’s voices bounce off the roof of the glass pavilion. On the table are bowls of soup and cheese scones, and between us we’re talking and laughing.
At the end of the month, Phil and I find a path from Finsbury Park going north. It’s a disused railway line and under the bridges the walls are multi-coloured with spray paint. As we cycle, that light flicks. Wood smoke from the community group as they clear debris, and there are people with carrier bags who stoop in the undergrowth, drop nettles and wild garlic into carrier bags. There’s a Narnia lamppost at Crouch End, a gaping drop from the line down to Muswell Hill. Radishes in the sink to be washed and soil draining down the plughole.