Today, I spoke to one of my closest friends. The last time I saw her was a summer ago, and the last time I heard her voice was when she called on my birthday and yelled at me for still being in bed. The best thing about talking to good friends though, is even after long absences, nothing really changes. We talk like we always did. Exchanging the little tidbits of news that make up our worlds, and waiting for a week, when I plan to lay my head on her lap, light a fag and unload the heavier baggage. I will feel warmer as she listens and inserts an “Aw, snookums!” at all the right times.
She reminded me today that London was supposed to fix everything. I have always had too much wanderlust and uncertainty to hold. London, I thought, would fix that. I thought we would fall madly in love, and everything would click. The way it always does when you’re in love. We didn’t fall madly in love. Love, yes. Not the kind that will last a lifetime. I haven’t even left London yet, and I’m already dreaming of a new life, in new cities. I’m already dreaming of walking down foreign streets, wearing out my flip-flops, committing strange bus/train timings to memory, and discovering new pubs and cafes to make mine. In cities far from London.
My favourite part of London is and always will be him. I will always remember the city for giving me my first adult love. For the first time however, today I questioned that. In another conversation, with another friend, it crept in. I give love rarely. I’m stingy that way. When I give it, its real and large and overwhelming. I love him. More than I ever remember loving another person who didn’t share my blood. But today, I questioned the importance I give him.
Love may not be enough. Not for now, not at 22. I listened to the friend make plans and decisions to pursue love from continents away, pursue a love he’s never even met. It scared me. I share a bed, a quilt, a lamp, a sink with my boy. We share the same wristband for crying out loud. But we have not made plans or decisions. Not the kind with love at its core. Instead, we spend valuable time deciding whether we want a green or purple lampshade. And whether or not its wise to smoke in our new house. We plot and plan whether or not our strawberry plant (which he still has to buy) will ever grow strawberries that I can use for pie.
After the second conversation, I called my boy. Hoping to vanquish the restlessness with the stability of his voice. Epic fail. I found myself sounding louder and more panicked than I’d hoped, and I’d forgotten the significance of time difference. He snapped, woken from a deep sleep, spat out angry words, and I was left feeling even more certain that love may not be enough.
By the time he contacted me back, I had already stuffed books and my HP into an oversize bag, and was walking around my (first) city to the local Starbucks. The way I find peace in any city, at any time.
I wish I could stop running. I wish I could settle. I wish I could be satisfied.
Instead, I always want more. I’m always searching for that elusive happiness. I’m always wondering if there’s more and better that I haven’t discovered yet. My life seems to be a long-drawn out air miles-collecting-crisis.
Oh London, why-oh-why couldn’t you have been the one?