I’m 24 and I’m meeting a red headed girl called Imogen outside the building on York Road. She and I are in love. I am newly minted as a Commissioning Editor. We go to the White Hart. I’ve just closed on a flat with my brother. It would not be liveable in for months.
Five years later, almost to the month, I leave that flat, that Imogen came to once, and spent the night crying, for the last day in the Tower Building. The month has been drizzly but April 30th is relatively warm. We eat Konditor & Cooke cake from napkins and Levancia is in tears as Mel leaves. Azzuro sits there under its arch and my discount card, in timely fashion, snaps slightly in my back pocket. After finding some corked Chardonnay from 2001 we run out of booze and head to The Windmill but not before I play the ‘Drive’ soundtrack and the last thing I did as I left was throw something at the wall. I walked through that snapshut blue door so many times and I almost feel I grew up here. I came back to you from holidays, conferences. I courted the girl of my dreams and watched that dream turn to dust amidst the scratched carpet tiles and stone tiled lobbies. I held your tiny hands in mine on fleeting occassions. Rosie and I are up on the 16th on the last day and it all feels very clearly like the end of an era. Crick waking me gently from a slumber on my keyboard; SP and I sneaking for yet another at the Hole In The Wall. No one every really sat in her desk. No-one filled her place.
I saw you in Azzuro with a necklace that had your name on it and just knew in some strange way. And I was right.
I crossed the river for you every working day. I made my peace and lost pieces of myself in you. The grey hairs appeared in my beard and the bursting electricity that me feel like my actual life was alive and singing a song slowly dissipated while you trundled through yet another planning review. I threw up in your toilets and looked at myself getting older in that same fucking bathroom mirror and laughed and cried and commissioned a fuckload of books but you — You — you say nothing. The stories you contain, in your breeze blocks and girders, the tiles and your dust, up here in sunny SE1: they humble me.