After my Childline shift this weekend, I went for a run and inadvertently found myself on the street where my London life began just over three years ago. London was in a state of flux then and that made it a perfect fit for me. Still grieving a year after the riots, it was preparing itself for the limelight of the Olympics but there was doubt in the air. Could all the separate Londons come together and offer pride to its residents? It was suffocatingly hot, smelly and tired, but trying hard to pull its shit together.
Stopping in my stride, I stood on the pavement opposite the office block where I had my first working day just hours after arriving in the capital. I took the photo above in the same spot I had my pic snapped for the website on my first day. Three whole years and it all came flooding back. The building held a year of memories and I could feel them all pulsing through me – clashing angrily. I could taste each cigarette smoked outside those glass doors, feel each bit of my bruised heart mending, picture the faces of my first new friends and delight in the spread of contentment as I became more and more sure that I had made the right decision to move. I fell for London’s charms in these walls and I fell for Elaine. I worked to build a new life here. It was a transition year and not least because I had my first MG symptoms in the bathroom there. Not that I knew it at the time.
So what did my trip down memory lane mean? It reminded me of all the highs and the lows since I first walked through those doors. It reminded me how much I’ve learned in London and how far my limits have been pushed. And it reconfirmed how changeable the world is…My first office building, that held all I’ve mentioned and so much more, now appears to be a squat. Like me, it’s undergone it’s own transformation because nothing stays the same for long.