Monday, December 30, 2013

In Which I Prepare to Leave

Tonight is my last night in my York bed.
 Tomorrow I'll be sleeping on a plane, and the night after that I don't know. Somewhere in Melbourne, I guess.
Bittersweet goodbyes, a mizzling, drizzling sort of day. I think I may start drinking coffee again.
I still haven't packed. How on earth does one pack for an entire year? I want to only bring my backpack. It will be the ultimate test.
These past 3 months have been so full of surprises. I have absolutely no idea where I will be, who I will be, what I will have experienced a year from now. Will I come "home" (UK) for Christmas? When on earth is the next time I will be in Canada? I don't know, and to be honest, I'd not have it any other way.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Manchester Sighting

I thought I saw you in Manchester.
It was drizzly, cold, and I had my head down, navigating oily puddles and cracked sidewalks. Around me tall brick buildings loomed, and I liked the grungy feel of the people passing by, the soggy, disintegrating posters on the walls, and even the smell of coal smoke and car exhaust. I was in the North Quarter, and everyone was an artist, or trying to be, or just too poor to afford to live and eat anywhere else.
And there you were, or so I thought, sitting in a steamed-up café window, condensation dripping on the inside matching the speckled rain on the glass. Curly brown head, with longer hair like you used to have when I knew you years ago. You were bent over, and I want to say you were reading a book like the ones I used to lend you, falling apart Penguin paperbacks with pages that had come out and been stuffed back in again, always in the right order somehow, but that left you having to gingerly hold the thing like a newborn, afraid you would hurt it, or break something.
Most likely it was your phone though. Perhaps you were texting a girl across the city, someone who was equally as unhappy as you, who revelled in the cigarette black coffee alcohol depression that made us feel cool when we were 18, 19, 20, but now just seems put-on, a disguise, something we used to pretend to do in order to set ourselves apart.
You know what though? Even though for a split second my heart stopped, even though I knew it was impossible, even though I wanted to freeze or at least take a second look- I didn't. I kept on going, moving through the sudden fog in my thoughts until it cleared, until the hole in my stomach filled, until something or someone else caught my eye. And it didn't take very long, only 10 seconds or so, but here I am, a week later, still wondering.

Monday, December 9, 2013

The Wolds

It was such a heavy grey day yesterday. We went for a walk in the Wolds, which were milder and less dramatic than the Dales. Everything was shrouded in curtains of decay; all the leaves were disintegrating underfoot and the grass was yellowish and close-cropped. There was a wind with a knife edge in it, and all at once it felt like December, rather than a mild drawn out Autumn. 
At one point we walked through a small village, and saw not a single sign of life, though there was a giant wooden spoon outside someones house, and a shrub that had been clipped into a bear shape, and someone had poken two googly eyes into its head. 
The smell of coal smoke was strong. I like the smell. It smells old, and warm, and slightly sweet in a way. It carried far into the woods with us, and crossed the streams and ponds and stiles that we did. 
I have such mixed emotions about leaving in 3 weeks. I feel like I tried hard here, and it will all be to waste when I leave. 3 months is just enough time to start to feel settled, and to make some friends, and to have vague regrets when the time comes to move on. 
Moving on though is something I do best. You really just suck it up and be uncomfortable. It's all about being uncomfortable, and making a fool of yourself, and learning to live with loneliness. It certainly gives you time to think about your life, and the decisions you've made, and decide what you want. 

 12th century church in the village.

 Modern-day stained glass set in to one of the windows.

 Sometimes it's hard to figure out where to go.

 The best part of all the hikes we do- a Sunday pub lunch with beer and all the fixings.

Dad being all like "Did I get this photobomb thing right?"