A Love Letter to London

I am marrying my city and I felt London deserved a heartfelt honest letter.

Dear London,

I love you. You have been my home for the past ten years and I have been coming to visit you for years before then. I’ve never not known about you. You have always been there and it was evident that your magnetism would eventually draw me to you. I was always going to end up tangled with you. How could I resist you with all your charm and charisma?

You welcomed the lost figure of an eighteen-year-old girl from an English suburb when she first tried to make her way into adulthood. You have watched me grow and have given and housed all my greatest achievements and sorrows. You gave me freedom of movement and let me travel the realm of you to spread my wings and still your wonders never cease. You are a never-ending playground filled with treasures for me to seek, always ready to entertain me. You have taught me about art, opera, classical music and culture through your breathtaking visual houses: Saatchi Gallery, Tate Modern, Royal Festival Hall, Royal Albert Hall, V&A and Natural History Museum.

I have experienced the world in your hands. I have tasted the exotic foods of many countries, met people from nearly all the continents, heard a hundred different languages as background music on my daily commutes and learnt of other cultures and religions without once leaving your side. You have walked with me in every experience. Yet you allowed me the opportunity to go further afield and to visit other cities and never once have you been jealous. Every time I return, you are thrilled even when I have been reluctant for the homecoming. With you, I am grounded. Your familiarity and stability allows me to explore because I know I always have you to come back to.

I’m sorry if this hurts your feelings but London, you are not always beautiful. You leave your pollution in the pores of my body. I blow out your toxic grey waste through my nose at the end of everyday. That is a fatal flaw in our relationship. You make me dirty… Seriously, you need better personal hygiene. We need to have a talk about this. Do we need to go into couple’s counselling? I’m very rarely repulsed by you but, boy, sometimes your smell makes me gag. That doesn’t bode well for our relationship, does it?

Don’t worry! I’m not about to leave you. Instead I’m about to put down roots in you. I am buying my first property! (Yes, really, in this political climate.) So how can I leave you after this? How can I leave you when I am joined and tied to you? I will be legally bound to you, so yes, essentially we are getting married, London. Hmmm…I’m trying to work out if that is a smile of ecstasy or a commitment-phobe freak-out. Oh right, you are absolutely thrilled! Sorry, I couldn’t tell for a minute… Hey, no, don’t get all offended! Of course I love you!

However I do feel I have something to confess. I never thought I would ever want to leave you. I have always loved you; I’ve never known a time when I didn’t. But, London, I don’t know if I’m outgrowing you sometimes. You move too fast and you’re so ambitious and there is so much drive to you that I’m no longer sure I can keep up with. I want to settle down. I want to build a future. I know we’re getting married and buying a flat and will have a piece of paper to prove it, blessed by law. But it scares me that I feel and think differently sometimes about you. Not always, just in the calm and quiet pockets of time I manage to find when I’m alone with my thoughts. I never thought I would ever feel this way. I never thought my love for you would wane.

I want to relax. I want to slow down. I know so many people who love you and can match your pace but I’m no longer sure if one of them is me. I dream of Spain a lot. Wait! It’s just a fantasy! I promise I’m not cheating on you! The different lifestyle is attractive; the unstable economy and language barriers are not. I dream of the sun and the sea which you can’t offer me, London. I want to work abroad; I’ve been looking at jobs. I’m sorry I haven’t discussed this with you. Maybe I’m the one with commitment issues here.

Still I don’t know if I could ever truly leave you. I think I would always return to you. I love you too much. If I did ever leave you, please know that I loved you with all my heart for most of my life. I sang your praises and I defended you to anyone who looked their nose down on you. You have a beautiful soul and are so accepting and accommodating of other people. You are so friendly and always welcoming of others and getting them to bond. I know your bosses are always trying to improve you, tearing down the parts of you they don’t like and replacing them with shinier parts so that you are even more of an attractive prospective.

I am proud of you, London. I always have been and I always will be. I’ve never tried to change you; I accept you. I just can’t promise that it will always be enough. I can’t promise that I will always stay. However I can promise I will return though; I can promise I will always come to see you. I will and can never truly leave you behind. You are scored on my heart, London. Forever and always.