Tuesday, May 5, 2009

It's just a jump to the left...

I just spent twenty-four hours in a time warp. From the time I rang the entry bell to Nick’s flat, it felt like I’d gone through the door at the back of the wardrobe. Instead of Narnia, though, I’d arrived in my past, more or less as I remembered it from 10 years ago. Same flatmate, give or take a few years; same workmates; same far-more-play-than-work-mates; same book fair - nerd's paradise for someone like me. 

I've never been nonchalant about working with and around books; I'd be far cooler if I were, but then that's true of most of my life. "Achingly hip" isn't exactly the phrase used to describe me: "Ridiculously enthusiastic" is probably a more accurate description. And it plays out in every aspect of my life; always has, always will, I dare say, at this point. 

 The details of the trip play out in my head over and again. Paused at traffic lights, I make list upon list of the sheer number of old pals I bumped into or sought out. I pass myself in a mirror and find I’m beaming like a belisha beacon at the memory of phrases repeated, grooves remembered, faces flickering from confusion to recognition (“You’re back from Canada!” came the frequent exclamation. Well, yes, and no. Never went to Canada; not exactly “back”). . It felt entirely surreal after six years out of England to be back in situ, and exactly right at the same time.

A hangar full of books. A room full of people who, for a few brilliant years, were my people and, it turns out, still are. A chocolate cake the size of my head and my old partner in crime to share it with. Whatever the opposite of a hangover is, I’ve just had one. 

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