Back from holiday and it feels like months ago. My skin was hot then, changing the train at Tottenham, the carriages hot too with the memory of the summer. Go underground.
I meet Euan near the entrance to the Barbican, find a pub for a pint. He’s left the city, gone back north and I’m proud of his boldness and bravery. When we hug, I feel the worn cotton of his checked shirt.
Walking on the Heath and before we go up I buy a clementine, sharp and waxy in a paper bag. “Drayton Park, love, born and bred” the stallholder tells me.
I swim in an outdoor pool in the centre of London. I went there again last night with Fabs, silver shards beneath the surface. Along the base, the depth suddenly drops and I feel myself swim into the colder water, looking at the dredged leaves on the bottom. There’s a storm coming tonight, they’re warning. Water pushes ripples against my face and in the tower block above, windows light up one by one as people come home, put the oven on, get ready for X Factor. I put my face under the water. Push on.
Sian’s got a new house, still south, and we’re on the rooftop with tumblers of fizzy wine. Workmen have left the scaffolding and we walk around, watch the sky, still wait for this storm.
A few nights later, I run along Stamford Hill, Seven Sisters Road, along black streets that hump with mounds in the pavement where the old trees are pushing up their roots. Groups of men are coming out of the synagogue and I brush past the fur of their coats. On my way back I buy an avocado and some tomatoes and baklava from Blackstock Road – an odd shopping list. I hear the crows roaring at Highbury. They’ll lose 2-1.
The tarmac glitters and I ignore the thoughts in my mind that we have been rolling around, the lacking comparisons we draw.
On the last day of the month, it is Hallowe’en; doors of houses are open and as I cycle past people are exclaiming and calling and shouting. There are skeletons, demons, witches, knee-high. The air crackles. Foil wrappers and jelly sweets and cobwebs or mist or something damp in the air falls on our faces. Brush it off.