For someone who thrives on change and despairs at the very prospect of boredom, you’d think I might be happier about the constant moving house that has punctuated my life these past six years. Counties and countries have become interchangeable, but at the root there has always been somewhere to get away from (Motherwell) and somewhere I ache to get back to (London).
It’s not quite right here anyway; this isn’t London proper. Walking last night as the clock hands crept up to midnight, only the Shell garage and floodlights of the Gothic hospital punctuating the rows of majestic but dark houses that make up this overpriced suburb. The road that provides our freedom – at one end the buses and train station and tube station that keep us connected to real London – but walking in the wrong direction only provided endless well-tended nothing. A huge and pulsing artery of a road by day, at night it’s deserted with only the occasional car speeding along to reach one of the far more provinicial places it leads to. I’m not ready to settle for this suburban monotony, this getting home at a sensible time and taking a pride in the garden. I’m twenty-four years old and there has to be more night bus and puking in the streets for me, surely?
So we’ll move further in, back into the cloud that protects us from the rest of the country with their terribly small concerns, and lives that aren’t dictated by the whims of the RMT and their tube strikes. People who don’t think of geography in postcodes are kept out by the cold grey circle of the M25, and it’s probably better that way. But for once I want to settle, I really crave having one place to come home to and knowing that it won’t change for a long while to come. I may have hated living at home, but for the eighteen years before I ran away it at least felt like mine. I need to make a home, because a year from now I’ll be preparing to live somewhere very, very different. It’s one thing to fly in and out of Kuwait and Dubai, someone else footing the bill for the luxury hotels full of rich Westerners; but living in Syria or Egypt for at least six months is an entirely different prospect.