(Anna Seward)—My dearest,
This is my last week with you and I’m finding it a little hard to let go. In these last few days I’m trying to revisit all the places I love most, like I’m trying to create the perfect last bite to a favorite meal. I’ve given up finishing my papers before the break just so I can thoroughly enjoy you one last time. I really have so much to do. I have to spend nearly a whole day in my favorite coffee shop near Tavistock, play Jenga at the Pakenham Arms with a pint of one of their winter ales, wander around the Tate Modern, meander along the South Bank market stalls, cross the Waterloo “Ladies’ Bridge” like I do every morning and admire Parliament and Big Ben through the fog.
Don’t get me started on your food. What will I do without delicious curry seemingly on every corner? Without hearty stews in dark and cozy pubs to warm me from the cold? Most importantly, how am I going to go back to drinking lattes again after you introduced me to the flat white?
I also keep looking at the list of things I haven’t done. I never did make it to Abbey Road. There are so many West End shows I want to see. I won’t have time to explore the secret bars hidden in old public restrooms, requiring passwords, or behind curtains. Can I spend just a week more in every single neighborhood? I still get a little lost in Soho and there are about a hundred cafes I have yet to check out in Southwark. Please. I just want to know everything about you before I tube out to Heathrow for the last time.
I’m going to miss the people who inhabit you too. Maybe more than anything. The friendly baristas who give me free soup if they don’t have a full portion left. The bus drivers who open the doors for me as I sprint up, panting, to the window just as the 45 is about to leave Blackfriars. The commuters on the tube who busy themselves with anything to avoid looking at each other. The tourists who have started to ask me for directions. All of the friends I’ve made here. My crazy eighteen year old British flatmates who try to take me out clubbing Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights. God, especially them. My two “little sisters” who seem to think I’m actually kind of a responsible adult.
London, I learned a lot about myself while I’ve been with you. I needed a break, but I didn’t realize how much I needed you. I hope you’ll excuse my sentimentality, but I’ve noticed you’re not as cold as you seem to be, so maybe you’ll understand. You probably won’t notice my absence, you have enough students to raise in your winding streets and look over with grey skies, but I’m leaving a part of my heart here. Keep it safe for me and maybe someday I’ll come back to you.