Wednesday, 2 March 2011

The ghosts of recent past lives

I took my old train journey to my former home last night.

Making a trip you used to make everyday as a tourist is like walking in a life you once had. Where this trip had been my little kingdom I now felt like a guest in other people's commutes and lives. The ghosts of that life were friendly of course, they even felt famliar, but I didn't belong in their world anymore.

It's the little things that are different when you don't belong to a place in the daily sense. Trains hurtling West tend to contain upmarket shopping bags with ready meals as expensive as eating in some pubs, they contain more free papers, the constant burble of i pods is slightly less than on a journey East and the chatter about train delays and meal times is greater. The clothes are more sensible and the people keener to fit in than stand out. The night time you ride through is greener, darker and quieter and when you exit the train you walk next to trees and woods with earth straying onto the pavement under your feet.

Your feet know every step of the journey but today they notice making the journey and today it's interesting. Before it was always just a chore, a means to a homecoming, now you are going somewhere to be hosted and entertained. Today this isn't really your place but it recognises you and smiles fondly as you come and go- and you smile back and say thanks for the good times, I'm sorry if I didn't always love you as much as I should have.

Then you go to your new home and love that too, as much- taking the time to notice it more.

7 comments:

Deborah Lawrenson said...

Beautifully put, as ever, Rose. I've always thought that about going back to our places - that we can almost see ghosts of our former selves...

I've blogged today about scent and memory, which might appeal to you.

KarenG said...

I love this post! Wow! So much truth in it, and so well put.

Rose said...

Hi Deborah- thank- you that's very kind and yes that would be of interest and I shall come over and read x

Hi Karen- thank- you, thank- you x

Joan Hunter Dunn said...

We've moved West to East London... We've yet to return to our old little pocket of London. Your writing is so evocative of those senses and emotions - and shopping bags...

Rose said...

Hi Joan- we've made the same move! thank- you, it's funny isn't it- I love them both but in different ways I suppose

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Dolly said...

This post really struck a chord with me. I have feelings like this when I go home to London, now that I am living in Ireland. Sometimes when I wake up I don't know where I am, or where I belong though I love living in both places. You put it all so well in this post.