This Place Will Swallow You Whole

The circularity of it all, as I stood at the Islington Green stop, waiting on the night bus to take me home to my bed and the solace I’ve held all year. Tonight, one of my closest friends celebrated her last night in London, and we went for dinner near her flat. We drank with the remaining friends we have in London, and we stayed up too late.

I pretended it was like earlier in the year, when I would leave parties from her flat, convinced that the two night buses between me and and my creature comforts were worth it. How many minutes did I stand in the cold at the Royal Courts of Justice, waiting on the N551?

The streets are so quiet, it being a Thursday night. On the weekends, I would feel imposed upon by the other revelers. Instead, I have the streets and the bus stop to myself. Moments like that make this feel even more like my city. I share it with nearly eight million other people, but it’s also mine.

I stood at the bus stop, full of the memories of this year. My mind overflowed with the pints I’ve drank around tables with people who I found no greater pleasure than in being around. My thoughts were full of remembered conversations, huddled at bus stops with friends. I awaited that 4am rising summer sun that won’t come until next June, as I finally made my way home. This is the past year, and while I still have two weeks in the best city on this planet, I feel like the chapter is closing.

The friend that boards a plane tomorrow is the same friend who met me on my very first night in London, 370 days ago. She introduced me and put me up, she consoled me and drank with me. Our friendship is the stuff of my legends. So many friendships were life-changing for me this year, and naturally so much has changed. I’ve changed. Life does that to me a lot when I’m busy with other things.


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