Home town feels
I’m sitting on the steps of a train station in my home town. Roma Street Station for those who know Brisbane. It’s dirty and smells weird. And yet I still sit, filled with anxiety as faces peer out of cars that zoom past at every second.
It’s been a year since I’ve feared seeing someone I know. My life in London is strange face after strange face, exotic accent after exotic accent. It’s been so long since I’ve ‘run into’ someone I knew, that now I almost fear it. The thought of small talk sends me a shiver. Inquisitive questions with no context gives me butterflies.
For some, living in a big city with only a few contacts in your phone could be a potentially lonely experience. Sad even. But I relish it. Once upon a time I used to avoid eye contact when entering a room at the risk of clocking an ex of any kind; boyfriend, friend, frenemy, crush. Now I’m wide eyed and devour every sight.
I have loved seeing the people I love here. Since stepping off the plane I’ve become a touchy-feeling type. Curling my arms around my friends, family and old colleagues. The social posts and phone calls have been nice, but being able to touch them has been a cookie I have’t been able to resist stealing from the jar.
Despite the days apart and life updates, time has stood still in terms of our love for another. And yet, while I like to tell myself that seeing my friends is like ‘no time has passed,’ it has and with it this weird elephant sits with us at the dinner table while we eat too many crackers and dip.
Our lives are different. So different. Silent suburbs in one corner and deafening cities in another. And the emotions of feeling smug or resentful or unattached or disconnected float above us while we try to ignore them. I fear what happens to us when they fall. The question of long distance friendships is one I have pondered before, and am yet to fully answer.
More than just a million people and miles between us though, life is evolving faster than it has ever before. My return to Saturn (my new obsession), began a few months back and I felt its ticking begin inside me as soon as I turned 28. Change is coming, in all it’s myriad forms.
For the first time I’m filled with anxiety not just for the faces I don’t want to see, but for the faces I do. I can see the rocky road in the distance where we all choose a different path and commitments and zoom past so fast that we only manage a glimpse of each other.
This time around, back in my home town, I’m trying to stay wide eyed. Take in all the sights. Even if it is from the dirty steps of the train station.