There are moments of peace, ended abruptly each time by the realisation that this is a moment of peace. There are other people’s memories: imagine, just for a moment, chasing a dawn milk-float through a fog-choked ’79 estate, warnings about the Yorkshire Ripper washing around your brain like sour cream.
There are exquisite triumphs when the older us achieves what the younger us so desperately needed, and we wonder if our autism is just ours, or cultural, or universal.
There are moments of anger dispelled by truth: one of the signs a woman is mad apparently, to be avoided, is that she likes Sylvia Plath’s poetry. So we read ‘Ariel’, fuck-you defiant and smiling.
There are times, of course, London calls too loudly, too insincerely.
We lie in the bath with The New Yorker and read that ‘Las Vegas’ means ‘The Meadows’ and it pleases. We lie in the bath and think Julia Roberts thoughts, then bloody-work-on-Tuesday thoughts, then Julia Roberts thoughts. We lie in the bath and think we must remember to listen to that Super Furry Animals album.
We wish we hadn’t, as ever, forgotten the toothpaste. We wish we didn’t feel a need to be liked by taxi drivers and ghosts. We wish for love.
From the other side of the canal, the old fisherman wanted so much to tell us about the two great towers, self-conscious reminders of this city’s long-gone strength. He shouted and we listened. We took his photograph and find ourselves now sitting in a later train, eased with warmth and thirty-five shared years, wondering if we too had one who got away.