The sky filled with golden tears raining down over St Pauls in wide rings, each one larger than the last, so that they seemed to be coming closer to us. And with the last bang, my time in London came to an end.
After a strange 2010, I decided last month to bite the bittersweet bullet and leave my boyfriend, my job and my flat in London. They were all hard to let go of, but my London home is the one that I’m grieving for the most. I always told everyone that I wouldn’t stay in London forever, that I wanted to enjoy it while I’m young and then settle down somewhere quieter when I’m older, but now I’ve moved back to my mum’s house in Sussex I realise I’m still far too in love with the city to really leave it.
On one hand I’m excited; I’m going travelling on Thursday for three months around Canada, the USA and Central America, which will be full of excitement and experiences I’ll recount for years to come.
But my other hand is shaking with sadness that I no longer live in my nice flat, which I spent weeks searching for and months cultivating into my first proper home away from my family home. When I see London buses, shops and streets on the news I look for people and places I know and love, and mourn my loss. It’s crazy but though I know London is still there for me, I feel a distance between it and me far greater than the one hour train journey.
So last night I said farewell to the city for a few months. I spent the day at the Thames Festival with friends, wandering the South Bank and Embankment and taking in the smells of a hundred different foods, the colours of the market stalls and musicians and the murmer of the people. As the day wore on I looked forward to the night, when the night carnival would pass through and culminate in the end of summer fireworks display.
The fireworks were incredible. My friend and I had lost track of time and misjudged the crowds on Waterloo bridge so as the display began we were still running from the end of the bridge into the middle, hearing the bangs but seeing only the highest flying purple sparks over the top of the National Theatre. Once in a clear spot though we could see the whole dazzling array of colours, shapes rushing to change directions and texture before giving way to another and another.
The final few moments filled the sky with golden fireworks, some softly fizzing like champagne and others popping like corks, toasting the city and all it offers to those under its wing. Layer upon layer of glittering light filled the sky until, finally, it faded into the familiar soft glow of city lights against the night sky.