I met a man, again, when I was studying (mature student, attempting another metamorphosis) south of the river.
I came from the city and so did he. Our ancestors were from different geographies, but that didn’t matter. The drunk and well-meaning would congratulate us in pub toilets. We looked good next to them as they chopped out lines on cold enamel. Sometimes there were funny looks across carriages on the packed commuter trains of the metropolis, but really, it was fine. Exciting even. Like we were the vanguard, proudly leaving behind the prejudices and hangups of both of our cultures. But we forgot we were people, not just ciphers for the things we were leaving behind. Flawed, individual, riddled with caprices and plagued with doubts. Capable of being cruel and kind and hurtful and loving. Often unknowable even to ourselves, not representatives for wider issues.
As time went by, I thought about the clothes and accoutrements of my previous life, now lying boxed up in a spare room. I had a text from the girls asking for a night out, like the old times when things were less stable and more full of possibility.
And I put those clothes on, and in that second I was lost to him. I couldn’t see him anymore and he searched for me among the shining brightness of the city at night.
Sometimes he texts me and says he can still see my light blinking on the city’s skyline. I think of him, and smile. I like that we can still stay in contact, but we live in different constellations.