The Colour Green


I always find it difficult to return to writing after I’ve been away for a while.

In a way, it feels like the least I can do is come back with stories to tell. Like it makes for a perfect excuse if I’ve been ignoring this place for the sake of some life altering experiences.

But the truth is, I haven’t been on any extraordinary adventures since we last read eachother.

I’m not at all sure what I’ve been doing these last couple of months, really. Just trying my best, I imagine, not to fall asleep at traffic lights or as I’m chopping onions for dinner. And yes, I’ve been on a few trips, celebrated another anniversary, seen a couple of Oscar-worthy movies. Read half a dozen books, sipped some glasses of wine, bought a few pairs of shoes. Longed for sunny mornings, worked for mortgage money, traded hopes and fears with other people, the usual stuff.

I didn’t lose anyone, didn’t get married, didn’t win the lottery. Just made it through a bunch of days, good and bad, and now it’s spring and they must have rinsed this city in a million waters, turned it inside out and hanged it to dry in the wind when we weren’t looking. Because suddenly, it’s so brand new and beautiful it breaks my heart.

It’s warm enough to walk to the train station in the evenings. Twenty something fast paced minutes along Piccadilly, counting heartbeats from Wren’s St James’s to Fortnum and Mason’s eau de nil blue window displays, onwards past the lights of The Ritz, then cutting through fields of daffodils in Green Park and past Buckingham Palace and its forests of selfie sticks. Armies of strangers safely sealed in our music bubbles, feet in trainers, work shoes in bags, we walk together, drinking in the streets of this new season, this new part of our lives.

I have a friend who’s been in a long distance relationship for many years, and he says that whilst there are things he doesn’t like about being on his own so much, one advantage is that he has a chance to think about things.

I get that.

Except in my case I really don’t think it’s my other half, I think it’s life itself that’s preventing me from thinking life over.

We’re making holiday plans again and again our place will be filled with friends every weekend for the forseeable future, our professional life is changing and our relationship is changing and we’re changing eachother and everyone else, I’m back to running and stretching my tissues every evening on an eau de nil yoga mat in our “baby room”, I’m quickly reading my way through my bedside bookpile and the Frech Revolution, growing basil and parsley and carnivorous plants in tiny terracotta pots on our window sill, I’m happy and in love and still very much afraid of everything that’s frightened me before.

Then I walk the streets and it feels like everything’s on pause for a while.


Tectonic Plates

Things are beginning to settle.

I wait for a while, fingers resting on the keyboard, letting the words sink in. Beginning to settle. Things are. 

It’s taken me a long time to identify it, this unfamiliar feeling of everything eventually falling into place, and to realize it’s not something to be afraid of. And now I am, I guess, at peace. I never saw it coming.

I took Friday off to wait for our furniture deliveries. As it always seems to happen when I plan things in advance, I overslept and woke up panicked I’d missed the mattress people, the thought of yet another night on a blow up bed bringing tears to my eyes.

London traffic finally on my side, they were an hour or so late, plenty of time to brew a cup of coffee and tinker with the remote control. I’ve been working in Broadcasting for years now but this is our first TV set since we moved to London, and I’m pushing myself to turn it on every once in a while, if only to then numbly stare at it for a few minutes’ worth of commercials, just enjoying the fact that it’s ours.

It’s what will be defining our relationship for a while now, I think. A collection of objects we jointly own, under a roof we bought together. Our mattress. Our remote control. Our kitchen sink. It does make one feel a bit profane, this living-life-permanently-high-on-furniture-shopping-euphoria, but I’ve decided to just embrace it, like I have all embarrassing phases we’ve gone through so far.

Our mattress, by the way, is a thing of wonder.

The delivery guys eventually squeezed it through the narrow hallway, fitted it into the bed frame, tore the plastic wrapper off and there it was, an island of white in the middle of a room I still wake up confused in, before I remember it’s ours, really ours, and grin to the ceiling like a silly weirdo.

Hours later, the bed was made, the shelves were freshly waxed and filled with books, and I was again sitting in front of the TV screen, watching people cook dinner for strangers for a thousand pounds prize. There’s little left to worry about. Our guest bedroom is still sporting the one-table-lamp-and-no-other-furniture-to-speak-of look, but I’m keeping it that way on purpose, the thought of a decorating project at hand whenever I’m feeling down making me feel all tingly inside. Because apart from that little room, everywhere else is liveable, guest friendly, and slowly becoming beautiful. My work is done, or more done than not, and contrary to what you’d normally expect from me, that doesn’t sadden me in the least.

I’ll admit it, it’s strange, not having things to stress about. It takes practice, being carefree, and I sometimes find myself looking for things to fix or worry over, just to get that familiar high back. It only lasts a minute or two, and then I’m back to my peaceful, happy, I guess, state of affairs.

So don’t say I didn’t warn you: my life these days, it’s pretty boring.

We spend most nights in, making friends with our kitchen appliances, setting and clearing our dinner table, then bumping our controllers into one another as we shoot zombies, aliens and each other on our new TV. Hardly blogging material, I know. But things, if of little consequence, are happening.

London feels like spring and for the first time ever this time of year, I don’t crave for Romania’s snows. Instead, I put on a skirt and stuff my scarf in my handbag. I don’t read much, I don’t talk much, I don’t listen to music. It’s quiet and it smells like something you can’t really pinpoint, something good.

We’re meeting in Waterloo Station tonight, to test a game V’s been working on live on the big screens. Games and dinner in the city on a Monday night, what else can a girl wish for. Well, pumpkins. V doesn’t know it, of course, but I plan to drag him into a Tesco on our way back, to buy some carving pumpkins. This weekend, there will be bowls of candy on our coffee table. We’ve got lots of children in the neighborhood and are expecting Trick-or-Treaters, an exciting and somewhat scary first for us strangers to Halloween. Then, there’s a house-warming party in the making. And plans to drive to a nearby Christmas fair one of these weekends. And that’s it, that’s really it because finally, things are beginning to settle.

July This and That: I Don’t Even Know

Our life these days, it’s really something.

We meet in front of the train station after work. I’m always half an hour early and I end up killing time looking at people come and go. Then V shows up, tired and grumpy and squinting his famously less than perfect eyes to place me in the crowd. I enjoy it, this moment when I alone know how many slabs of concrete and pairs of shoulders stand between us, when I can decide what face to put on, whether to scare him or surprise him or act like nothing happened, like I couldn’t tell he was lost and confused for once, even for only a tenth of a second. We walk the Broadway together talking. I’ll miss this place, I say. They broke into our flat here, remember, V says, and I do, remember it I mean. But I’ve also been very happy here.

We reach our pizzeria. The tiniest of places, half a dozen tables and the oven. A pack of waiters who always approach you in Italian and the best Calzone I’ve ever tasted. We order takeaway. There’s no room to wait inside, so we stand on the sidewalk by the terrace, sipping our half pints. It’s been the most beautiful of summers, hasn’t it? Remember when we used to come by this place with Carmen and the guys? She always managed to get us a table, wasn’t she something? I wonder what she’s doing now, V says, though we both know the answer to that. She’s gone back to Spain, she’s lost and found a couple of jobs, she’s been bruised and shaken by another man, yet she could probably still get us a table anywhere in the world.

We take our pizzas to the park. We sit in the grass. It’s thick and soft like the fur of a healthy animal, despite the hot summer we’ve been having. Maybe they replace it overnight V says, and I laugh. Here’s the reason I’m still rooted into this country. This green. Evenings like this, when people have their dinners in the field, telling their endless stories and drinking wine straight from the bottle.

We’re not happy, you know.

We both pretty much hate our jobs. Some of our closest friends are leaving the country, and as hard as I’m trying not to sound too fatalistic, we may very well never see them again. Things are changing with us. We’re hopefully but who knows getting a flat of our own soon, which will not only leave us penniless but tied to one another by things made of bricks and concrete which, who knew, are more difficult to undo than a metal band on your ring finger. It still scares me sometimes, years and years later, that I’ve found and been found and this is what we are now, a family of sorts.

I guess what I’m trying to say here is that we’re not OK, not entirely. That we’ve got worries and fears and pieces that don’t fit anymore, that we’re willingly or less so leaving places, and people, and hapinesses we wish we could keep, to make room for who knows what, really. And that’s terrifying.

We lie in the grass, oily pizza boxes piled by our side, passing a bottle of raspberry cider between us. It’s in this neighborhood that I first tasted cider years ago, around a wooden terrace table and a tea light in a jar, and I never looked back. We should get a dog, V suddenly says, his eyes following a tennis ball and a wagging tail. It’ll ruin our new carpeting, I find myself thinking, but it really doesn’t matter, does it?, we’ll replace it over night like they must do with the grass here, it’ll be just fine. We should, we’d be great dog people, I say. Then I shut my eyes.