The fingers on my left hand are still slightly numb from the plane ride back to the UK. Probably a temporarily pinched nerve, or maybe part of me is still left out there, across the ocean. I lay on my mat at the yoga place in Shacklewell the other night, listening to a bird outside the window, singing as it was still light outside at 9pm. It is June now and this is what Britain looks like in the summer, but I find myself thoroughly surprised that it has happened, that winter actually went away. I hoped, but it seemed foolish. Before I left I was tired of London, and does that mean, as the poet said, that I was tired of life?
My jetlag is fading but it has turned me into the worst version of myself: asleep at 2, up at 11. I have a bedroom to myself for the first time in a month, and I am surprised I didn’t miss it. I have hardly read a single article in the past month, something I used to do in the dozens per day, but instead I have three books on the go. I ate chocolate for the first time in weeks the other night, not realising until I chewed down on it after having bought it out of habit as I went to the corner shop. The cocoa fired up some old addiction centre in my brain, one which had somehow managed to fall asleep. Parts of me feel like I never left London, but a change has happened and there is no mistaking it. Before I left I wrote this thing about how I experienced so many things for the first time in San Francisco, back when I was 19, and how could any re-visit ever compete with that? But somehow I managed to find my jaw dropped, by sights, tastes and sounds, more times in the past month than it has over the past couple of years combined. It seems cheesy to call it life-affirming, but that’s what it feels like. London doesn’t nurture you, not like San Francisco does with its cheerful, happy spirit. London makes you fight, arm stretched high for the price, adrenaline rushing. It’s not a place for those who are into beauty, and normally I’d say that’s perfect for me. I am back now, to my real life, and I know that I can do this. This is my tenth year in this city, and you don’t get that out of a crush. But as London and I prepare to go a new round I know that I will need a little more, I will need to peel another layer off the onion. But that’s okay because I know there is more here for me, in there, out there somewhere.