Tuesday, 30 December 2003

Back in London

The tube is full of foreigners getting on at Green Park going to Russell Square and Kings Cross. Europeans in autumnal colours, stylish puffer jackets, camper-style shoes and good glasses. Cords, barber jackets and umbrellas. Someone holds a digital camera aloft and flashes the carriage. They've been to Gap and Hard Rock Cafe and... They've been walking around town, shopping and eating and sight seeing. I'm a Londoner here on the epic journey across town from the airport - a full-time inhabitant - the only person with a suitcase!

With my week-away-eyes I feel like a stranger in my own city. It feels harsher, harder and edgier than when I left. A gang of yoots are hanging out behind the bus stop outside the new internet cafe. A week of constant company, being ferried around by car has softened me and leaves me feeling vulnerable and exposed like a belly-up insect. I'll be glad to get home to be able to ditch the visible baggage.

And I worry about when the next time will be that I'll see my sister and niece and brother-in-law. Little family unit living a family life far away.

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