I miss vapour trails.
And coffee shops.
Tattooed barista girls, buskers, and kissing people on the cheek.
I miss walking through London, being invisible, imagining the worlds behind each face. I miss the plaques that say Dickens Lived Here, or Saki, Jimi Hendrix or Canaleto. I miss the woman who stands outside Waterloo Station shouting Jesus Loves You.
I miss mojito ice lollies on my way home, slurping as I walk, chewing the lime slice. I miss the theatre, and stationery shops, and staring across the Thames from a crowded footbridge. The moon over Trafalgar Square. The sun over Oxford Street. The dusty electric smell of the Underground.
I miss crowded commuter trains. I really miss them. I hadn’t realised how much thinking I do on trains. So many clouds seen from windows, sorted into shapes or omens or, once, even a version of myself swooping and soaring through the sky.
The trains still run here, high up on the railway embankment. But they are empty now. Not a single tiny head in any of the lighted windows. And the trains sound different too. They are lighter. They rattle past in a higher key.
No one close to us has died. The deaths are still numbers on the news. But the sadness laps at our feet. There is a cheerfulness among our neighbours that seems unreal. A coming together that smells lightly of hysteria, of a desperation to be normal, to not look at the dark.
So much has changed in so little time.
I pass a car dealership as I walk my dog. The new cars on the forecourt are thick with dust.
Everything is different now.