More than ever, leaving Manchester hurt.
Throughout the train journey I listened to my iPod, and had one song on repeat for a good chunk of the way. With its haunting chorus about coming back home, it hit me hard. The song is featured in the current Nikon camera commercials – and it has so much elegance and melancholic beauty, that it tugs at my heart, because it’s ironic me listening to it on the way back to London.
London isn’t my home.
Sure, I live there, but two years on I still feel as though I’m a guest in the city. It’s not a conscious thing – I really want to fit in here (in most ways I do) but I’m still an alien in a far off city.
The culture of it all is new to me. Yes, alright, it’s still Britain (it’s not like I’m suddenly in Toyko, Bill Murray style) but London is metaphorically more than its 250 miles away from Manchester. The two cities may share a nationality; but they’re on different planets.
You walk in a shop in Manchester, and fair enough there’s scallies and toe rags, but in their own way they’re harmless enough. Here in London everything is “so important” and people rush around, and are rude, and both purposely put on a safe guard against any pesky feelings that might clog them up.
People back home, it feels to me anyway, enjoy life more. Now I’m not an advocate for binge drinking, or the culture that comes along with that, but it’s its own thing, and the people who commit it are happy enough; they’re not plagued by unhappiness. Same with those happy slapping hoodies, or the folk you see on Jeremy Kyle. They’re happy. Leave them be.
Then of course there’s my family. I didn’t realise how much I missed them until I came back to them this time. Like I said yesterday, we’re suddenly a nice ‘family unit’. We’re a whole. Yeah, that puts it nicely – and it feels as though by leaving them I’m no longer a ‘whole’ and neither are they.
I have a great sadness when I look at them now. Not because I pity them, or whatever – but because I’m sad not being around them. I look at Willow (Mum’s dog) and she’s ten now, and it’s obvious that old age is kicking in. I look at Lauren, my little sister, just starting year 9 today. Blimey – when I left she’d barely started high school, and now she’s midway through it.
I’m sad because there’s change, and it’s happening without me, and in some cases it’s change for the worst. The dog getting old – she’ll never be the way I remember her ever again. Neither will my Nans. I’ll come back one day and realise I’ve missed all of Lauren’s time in high school – and that’s a pretty major time in everybody’s life. I won’t see how it’s changed her, and risk not being able to see clearly what she’s changed into.
I’m not home now. This isn’t a sob story that I now hate London and want to leave. Of course I don’t – I have my own things going for me here. But what it is, I hope, is a little piece of poetry – about life, about being an adult, and about being able to find joy in life.
London is where I live.
Manchester is where I’ve left my heart.
Yesterday I hinted about going back home one day. It’s a long way off I think, because it still feels like I’ve got so much left to do here, but I think that February 2014 seems a likely move back date.
It’s my 25th birthday that month, and it’ll be 3 and a half years since I moved here.
Who knows though (I don’t)
Maybe something or someone will come along and convince me to stay put?
I’m not ruling anything out – but for the time being, I’m determined to enjoy what I have right now.