There are crevices of this place that I’ve yet to explore. Tumbled buildings and moss hide around the corners of the concrete and plastics. Apartment blocks rise up like giants looking down on the shadows of their past. Left to my own devices, this city could become anything to me. The horrors, the mysteries. The irony of finding myself to be less alone when there is nobody around me but old bricks, trees and history.
Sometimes it feels as though I am dreaming, like I see everything but nothing I do would change it. People and cars rush past. I wonder if they’d notice if I spoke, touched, reached out, jumped into the road as if nothing could hurt me. And yet I think these streets can feel me; they breathe with a life of their own. Every step I take makes me a part of them and their story. They will remember me long after I am gone, tiny particles of my DNA engrained within the cracks of the cobblestones. When night draws in its breath to sigh across the world, I wonder if any part of me remains within the memories of people with whom my path has crossed. Am I gone? Like the wind – the air, always there but rarely noticed. Am I traced upon people’s faces, written into their lives?
People are not like bricks and mortar. There are fragments of buildings in this city that have stood for years, and will stand for years more. But lives change. Memories die like summer blossoms. Feelings fade as fast as the writing on a wall when the rain comes. We must make our mark while we can, leave something behind so we are not nothing. Paper, words blowing in the wind, a photograph, a thought, like a message in a bottle from when we called this place home. And then we are not gone.
During my first few weeks at university, I have had so many things to do and think about, and I’m happy to have had the chance to channel this into writing. As part of my homework for my course, I was asked to begin writing a daily journal. I’ve found this really fun, and beneficial in that it makes me write something every day. Below I’ve shared one of my journal entries 🙂
The hum of traffic fills my ears. My brain is tired of processing and filtering all of the information from the day. People rush past, and I need to be on my way, but just for a moment I stand there. Still.
Everything continues around me. Traffic and people hurtle past, all on their way to somewhere, part of a story into which I can gain only a glimpse. It feels wrong to stand here doing nothing in such a busy world. Even though it’s getting dark the city still feels so alive. Lights illuminate everything, blurring the distinction between night and day, and I wonder if this place ever sleeps. I look up to the sky – the colour of my mistakes, my grief streaked in a clouded white stripe along the horizon. But this is not the place for regret.
It seems like history has outlined itself in the silhouetted shadows of every building around me. In every brick, every corner, every face of each person passing, I am reminded of things that were, things that are, things that could have been. Everything has played a part in bringing me to now. Here, in the grimy puddles at the edge of the roadside, I am reminded that I have a choice. For once in my life I don’t turn in uncertainty to glance at who stands beside me at the kerb. I no longer think with impending doom that here, with my toes inches from the tyres grinding against the road, I am one step from my fate.
I can choose to move when I want to, to cross when I’m ready. I cannot be beckoned by someone on the other side, nor pushed by someone behind me. That’s the beauty of being alone. This is not loneliness any longer, but the freedom to be solitary and be content with it.