Saturday, 22 March 2008
when eyes can't look at you any other way
It snowed today in Surbiton. It did not last more than five minutes, but it was long enough to remind me of home. It was like a long, cold breath and then it was gone. This kind of weather seems unusual for England, since it hasn't been too cold this month, and in fact hasn't even rained much. But, maybe the fact that it was cold and rainy this week was a cruel way of welcoming Max to England. It's like it had to prove its own stereotype to a visiting American. But he's on a plane on his way home to New York now, and on my walk home from the bus stop, my toes felt as if they were miniature ice cubes clanking together inside of my canvas zebra trainers. Needless to say, I immediately changed into warm pajamas and my L.L. Bean slippers as soon as I got home.
This week wasn't real. It was here and now it is gone, and it feels bizarre to go back to the way things were before Max got here. I am of course sitting in the house sipping on red label fair trade tea from a slender cup and eating any kind of food that I can find in the refrigerator.
Rewind seven days. I stayed at a friend's in Kingston and woke up at 4:15 a.m. to catch a train to London and then a tube to Paddington and a connecting train to Heathrow Airport. I waited excitedly at the arrivals gate with a sign reading, "MAX." My heart pounding harder than I had felt in a long time, I recognized his kind, beardless face and his slender body immediately. That didn't feel real, and neither does any of this. Am I tired?
We saw everything we needed to see, and we enjoyed each other. It was the perfect combination of sightseeing and just hanging out. We saw some amazing things at the British Museum and the British Library like the mummy of Cleopatra, the Rosetta Stone, original manuscripts and diaries of Beowulf, Shakespeare, Hebrews, the Beatles, the Magna Carta, Da Vinci, Newton, Galileo, and so many more. I showed Max all of the things I've seen before, and he especially liked Buckingham Palace. I enjoyed it more the second time, and it was a perfect transition to walk from there to St. James's Park.
I was just getting used to this independent, new lifestyle and now it seems I'm back at the beginning. I have been proud of myself that as a country girl from Connecticut I am able to use public transportation and navigate my way around the city, as well as being confident in airports. All this to say I am glad to know that I can be independent and be alright but I desire to have my companion by my side. As soon as he got here, it is a cliche, but it felt like the puzzle pieces came together.
I forgot to mention that Max and I went to Hampton Court Palace (King Henry VIII) and met up with Nathan Scharoff, my friend from high school. What a blast from the past.