This is a part of what I wrote today, for AAE:
"Although I won't be here forever, I am here now. This is my one inch of the world, even if it's only mine long enough to write this page. You have given this to me, and it's enough."
Last night was Alex's last night before going back to the states. Instead of hanging out in our airport hotel, we took the expensive and long trek into London and saw Everyman at the National. It was worth it.
Afterwards, we stumbled out onto the balcony, then down to the riverfront, where we saw plastic rainbow walkways, double decker busses full of ice cream, and one alleyway with a long line leading into a warped circus behind a brick wall.
We fell in love with the river. We fell in love with the city. It was so good to be back in London after Paris.
This morning, Alex left, and I wanted to go with him. But I know myself, just as he knows me, and I bawled my way through packing, through saying goodbye, through doing my homework, through checking out, and then I hit the train.
"Today," I said to myself," I am a Londoner. I have a whole day to do whatever the hell I want. I have an overloaded Oyster card. Let's do this."
It helped that Alex had told me to go have fun. He didn't want me to go home. He wanted me to do all the things he knew I'd have fun doing.
"You have to ride the Rowling train," he said, "have some of her dust rub off on you. Make sure you write on the way to Scotland!"
And I realized just how special he is.
I mean, of course I already knew how special he was. But how many people have husbands who say such things to them? I am lucky. I know I am lucky.
So the day was spent walking around. I hung out with an old dear friend in Russell Park. I went to Westminster Abbey on a whim, and got shuffled into a real service in the heart of the cathedral, choirs and standing and kneeling and all.
("What church is this?" some American tourist asked one of the officiants. "Catholic?"
The officiant just stared at him. "Anglican, sir."
There was a moment in Westminster, where I was thinking about all of the coronations, all of the weddings ... how scared Diana must have been, how excited and prepped Kate felt ... how King George once shouted out for everyone to hear ... that the choir started singing, and I had this straight-on view of the stained glass, and I felt at home. I was a quarter of a world away from my real apartment, my real life, my husband, my family ... but there was someone there for me, something peaceful in the service.
I'm not one for churches, but cathedrals, man.
I went outside, and there was a woman who grabbed me and said, "Are you from here?"
Before I could answer, she decided I was in fact from here, and she said, "Where's the Palace? Buckingham?"
I actually did point her in the right direction.
This happened another time. And then another.
I got groceries, came home to my temporary apartment, and found that there was a secret garden outside my window. I took pictures. I wrote. I was just happy, and I haven't been happy in a long time.
For those of you who don't know, part of the reason why the year of writing challenge is a thing, is because for the last five years, I've gone through rough waters. I honestly didn't think I was going to get anymore days like this. And at one point, somewhere in the middle of the Louvre, I said to Alex in tears, "Now that I'm here in Paris, it sucks. Maybe nothing lives up to what it is in your head."
But then Alex said it was okay to be disappointed. Alex said we would find something pretty in the city. Alex said it was going to be okay.
And then we came back to London.
So today was a good day. I wrote a lot of ideas down, a stupid little poem, and I'm sure today will come out in writing at some point in the future.
There still are secret gardens behind buildings, circuses in alleyways, true love and kindness in men. There still is magic.
I board the Hogwarts Express in two days and take the same trek Rowling did when she came up with the idea for her book.