Tuesday, July 01, 2008

These Streets

These Streets

Thirty minutes to occupy, I start to walk.

It is not that I am going anywhere or looking for anything in particular, more that I wish to add my footsteps to the path and see if they stick. Metaphorically that is, because sticking feet in literal life can never be regarded as being a good thing.

The road winds, filled with cars and noise and inner city bustle. There are numerous shops, all rusted shutters and peeling paint; other than the Sainsburys with its starkly bright signage, I have yet to see any which are part of a recognised chain. As the road forks I see a large club proclaiming the acts which will grace its stage in the coming weeks. I think it safe to conclude that it is a faux-Green Day who will be appearing.

As the shops start to thin out I glance backwards and realise that, hardly noticed, I've been walking up a hill. Looking where I know the river must be I can see London rising. The Gherkin, the only building I can positively identify, glistens. To my untrained eyes the view is so incongruous that I almost have to blink. To be within touching distance of all that, a green light at the end of a dock, whilst remaining here amongst the cracking tarmac and ageing light.

The first splashes of rain fall on my head and I start to re-trace my steps, emptying my head of the city and the streets and pouring in instead words and names, catalogued for my own pleasure. I wonder if I should be more nervous, more preoccupied with the hoops I may have to jump, than the streets I have just walked. Maybe there is just a little bit of arrogance in my stance, testing this place not for whether it wants me but for whether I want it.

I do not need a love affair, I have Oxford for that. Maybe this place suits this desire.

Five minutes early, I press the buzzer. The door opens and, careful to wipe my feet, I step through.

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