I write to try to make sense of the links and gaps and to uncover the patterns of our lives. I write because it’s too important not to. I write to capture the character of the old woman who pays her bill in the restaurant and walks out unthanked and ignored, pushing her striped shopping trolley out into the rain.
Over twenty years in this city and I can still find new streets to walk down. There’s a list in my head of others I still need to walk down. A patchwork of histories and different districts and the bits in between that don’t really have a name and seem to be on their way to somewhere else.
“Don’t look along, look up,” my father once told me. On the top deck of the bus, I watch the woman in front, looking out at the buildings, her eyes flicking up over them. Looking up. I want to connect with people who wonder about the same things as me. When my train pulls into the tatty urban station, I wonder if other passengers are thinking how beautiful the steel architecture looks in the low autumn sunlight.
The day will come when we and everyone we know will exist no longer and our lives will succumb to dust. There will be no one alive who ever knew us. Those left will explore the links and the gaps and the patterns and ponder how they fit in with their own.