I came across a record today that I hadn’t listened to in awhile. It’s a record called Visions of a Life by a band called Wolf Alice. I was instantly reminded of you.
I was overwhelmed with emotion, on the brink of tears. I felt so calm. At peace. Images, sounds, scents, feelings, all flooded my mind, flashing like a technicolor watercolor, like a past life.
Crisp air, chapping my lips. Golden leaves crunch under my boots. Feel the air leave my lungs in hard pants, trekking up that cobblestone hill, as I did every day on the way to class – in my new city.
A fresh morning walk to the train station near my flat. It always felt like a little bit longer of a walk than I remembered. Seated by the window, facing east to London. Green green pastures roll by with cows and sheep. Blue blue skies mighty and unmoving. I almost forgot this isn’t Texas. Sun streams through the window. Eyelids flutter close, head pressed to the cool window. The constant hum of the wheels on tracks below.
A row of perfectly-kept Victorian houses on a perfectly-manicured street in Kensington with a quiet, whispering breeze. Yellow and orange and brown leaves litter the street, swept to the edge of the untarnished stone sidewalk. Turn a corner to step back into a modern-day city. People rush by. Cars anxious, switch between gas and breaks.
A cold, early morning spent wandering the underground and city streets. A city asleep, but a girl too excited to stay in. Sun low in the sky, wind bites at hands and nose. A warm dose of caffeine in hand calms the mind. Storage container boutiques lined in a row, face DIY art bursting from every corner as if growing out the of cracks in the aging brick. Step into a second-hand store with denim overalls and 90s tracksuits for the youth, the smell of dated cloth fills the air. Outside the afternoon sun peers down creating harsh shadows over rooflines, more street art covering the walls like wallpaper.
I almost didn’t make the train. My anxiety almost turned me around.
Everything I’ve done led me to this moment. Squeeze into a crowd of teens and twenty somethings pushing about with the pure excitement of seeing this same artist – the one in my headphones now – play for ten thousand eager ears.
Strobes. Elbows. Surrender to the uncontrollable sway of the mass of bodies. Break free into a circle of energetic youth, pushing, laughing. Strangers yell lyrics at each other. No longer strangers for an hour.
My heart races, as if it were on that train yesterday. Walking down the street with perfect terraces and fall leaves.
Love you, London. Miss you. See you soon.
I lived in Bristol, England during the fall of 2017 for a study abroad program. After graduation I am visiting London for a few weeks in June before moving to Vietnam. Stay tuned for more adventures and stories from around the world, or follow me on Instagram for real-time updates.