The last few weeks have been stark. That’s the only way that I can think to describe them. Stark, shocking, illuminating, devastating. My London, my city, and my country seem to be (literally) burning from afar, and all I can do is watch.
I didn’t intend for this post to be about how bad I feel about all the things happening in the UK right now, and more recently in London. I’m too aware that none of those things happened to me directly. Certainly, I felt them in the same way anyone would, when watching the community they care so deeply about, go through unfathomable pain. But the pain is not mine to claim. Yet, I feel it’s important to express my hurt in solidarity with the city I spent most of my life in, in lieu of not being able to do more. Because I am not there.
I am watching from across the sea, somehow receiving news of tragedies before even the local residents, just by luck of the time difference, of being ahead. I’ve been the first to comment on events a few times this week, in my Whatsapp group messages with friends and family, despite knowing that most of them were asleep. I guess I wanted to let them know I hadn’t forgotten about them; that I am physically in Melbourne, but my heart is at home.
How funny, ironic, inevitable perhaps, that I am finally able to feel the pull towards home as London, now that I have left it.
I guess I don’t really know what this post is about. I just find myself exploring new bars, restaurants, going to shows, meeting new people, moving into a brand new apartment and still living, even though my world, the one I’ve always known, has been forced to stop. To take pause. To mourn. I appreciate where I am now, the opportunities I have, the pain I have not had to witness firsthand. But my heart is heavy for London. I am carrying it around like an anchor, not weighed down, just reminded of what has always kept me grounded, steady, human.
And my heart hurts too, and then swells when I am reminded of why I love my city so much; the way people come together in a crisis, the way they continue to hope, even when there’s barely any hope left. Even when most of us have almost run out. They persevere. We persevere. Even from afar.