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Archive for the ‘Age: 21-30’ Category

A stranger as a challenge. You are on the telephone but I need to communicate with you. A gesture, then. You ignore me. A wave. Can I pass, please? You avert your eyes. I lean over you to order my sandwich. I hear the tinny voice from your handset. Someone is crying. What I say is this: Don’t go. Or do go. Stay with him, or don’t. Eat well, or not. Settle in this country, or don’t. Be ridiculous, but sometimes don’t be. The only place from which you don’t have to come back from is the journey to yourself.

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Floor plans cover the walls, ceiling and sofa. Standing against an open window, you’re shivering yet pleased: All in the name of art. This 1960’s housing estate is condemned, though you don’t know why. This building will be replaced, but you’re not sure what is. This building offers free furniture after 10pm, however you can’t be certain. I take your responses to mean that site-specific creativity in urban spaces does not automatically breed interest in the place. You wear several scarves and hold a walkie-talkie, I try again: You must be cold. You cheer up: Right, right yes I am.

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It’s Camden you need to get off at, I say to you when you ask. Your girlfriend is drunk and gazing blankly around the carriage. I like her for her aquamarine eyeliner and sun-bleached hair. You ask me questions and say you’re from Sydney. She is stressed,  briefly, because you’re late. I assure you that you’ll be fine for time, though I have no idea where you are heading. When we step off the tube, the ambition of your aim is infectious. I also speed towards the next train, desperate to meet my deadline of no time and doesn’t matter.

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You serve me with a smile. You really like me. I have fennel tea. For you, every customer has to be reckoned with. There’s solitude at home and then there’s company at work. You’re bewildered by my choice. Do I want milk? I don’t. Do I want tap water? Yes. You want me to stay and talk. You raise your hand and I’m a puppy to your instruction. Stay, stay. I wait and count your tips. Coppers and some silver. My drinks are here. You ask me with your eyes, Why not stay? Have a heart. Why not just stay?

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We have a conversation about our values. How do we feel about them, about each other? If we had morals, what would they be? We have three hours to decide and then what? Then we know. You come in late and I ask you which side you are on. You have delicate lips and when you speak, the truth comes out. Out it comes, from your mouth to my ears. It journeys easily, it’s done so before. You pick words from a low orchard of trees you have nearby. And only the ripest most seasoned apposite ones you will taste.

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It’s fashion week and it’s right now. On the door you stand, poised clipboard, broad smile and chipped teeth. I tell you how beautiful I think Liberty is, the fourth floor regally looking down with a timber gaze. I could also tell you what I know about this department store: made from the timber of two ships, bombed for its Rushdie books once, tiers that look into a central interior courtyard. However, none of this is vaguely or voguely interesting. There are nude photographs to see, wine to sip, women with elongated limbs, anguished eyes and puffed fringes to sidestep.

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A helicopter is circling in a weight of clouds. It lingers in the grainy sky. We scramble across a river, slip on the sodden soil. Then the heath opens up and it’s Kenwood House vivid white, grass green, sky creamy blue grey. You stride through the gates, tell us we must leave and give directions. Your wellied feet are dry and you’re wearing a National Trust sweatshirt. My feet sink into the mud. This is because Primark do not offer a waterproof option and I rarely think ahead. You are brisk and it’s starting to rain. And yet, and yet.

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