You are not a sweet lover.
You do your own thing. You are harsh. You’re like one of those guys who don’t give a woman the time of the day and then get her drunk on cheap wine (Australian wine, as is the case). And then she falls in (drunken) love.
I was skeptical. I was born with congenital trust in human beings and congenital skepticism in objects and facts. I was lukewarm towards you as I often am with the popular anything.
But you grew on me: at some point in March, you decided to blossom. You forced your way into my busy heart.
You conforted me with your red and yellow bricks, covered in ivy as one would be in jewellery, with your quiet crescents leading into bustling high streets, with the fading paint on your buildings, with your ability to hold secrets. The thing about you, London, is you never end. At first I didn’t like being lost, I didn’t like knowing less about you than tourists do. I didn’t like not knowing how to get to Piccadilly on foot and not finding my way around Soho.
But I now recognize my places. I have dream houses, I know which way is the shortest to my destinations, I walk through my favourite bookstores just because.
Strasbourg also taught me the comfort of calling home a place I used to be scared of – but that was different. Strasbourg was beautiful in a simple, evident fashion you don’t have to my eyes. You don’t have that same purity, London. You are a hundred things, a thousand sights. You can’t be defined, you’re not mine as Stras used to be. You will probably never be. It’s ok; those like you cannot be tamed, you’re nobody’s thing, you always have something on your mind. It’s not like you’re always busy: it’s the quiet moments, the silent mews, that got me. The times when I wonder whether I am still in the same city where you can’t see the pavement by walking through Oxford Street on Saturday afternoons.
But I have gotten to know you well enough that I feel excitement rise like a wave into my body when I discover a new breathtaking view in your universe. I know the pangs of delights given by landing into the geometry of your streets: it feels like being preyed upon.
There are familiar places – and they used to feel so cold and unpersonal, too: and how warm they make me feel inside now. And then you have surprises, secrets hidden in plain sight, happenings, encounters.
You are not mine, London, but I did end up falling in love with you. It was when I least expected it, when I thought we only shared business, and that we would be polite strangers until the end. But then you blossomed, and the sun shone down on your strange, crude grace.
Maybe love is about being aware love is neurochemistry, and choosing not to give a damn.