It was Natasha's going away dinner tonight. A commemoration. It was her, Chris, me, and Chris's parents. And as everything has been for our time here, it was relaxed, and easy (even when it wasn't), and wonderful. It's hard to separate Natasha from London, and I certainly cannot separate the good about London from Natasha. My friend Mary, who moved here a bit over a year ago, said it appropriately: "You and Natasha made a home here". London has never felt like home to me the way New York did. But walking into 23 Rosebery Court always felt like coming home.
She's leaving back to America in two days, with her amazing husband to follow, once Homeland Security gets its head out of its ass. So we had dinner at one of the best places she found in London, Lorelei (No, I didn't break Lent; "going out" in Soho means going gay, not having pizza). Then a drink in a great bar in Chinatown, as only she could find. And then, then, thankfully, a very quick goodbye as both our buses came at once (unheard of in London) and we scampered on, her South, me East.
So perfectly melodramatically gay, as my bus pulled out of Trafalgar Square, and drove past Parliament, Big Ben, Westminster Abbey and the London Eye, James Blunt's "High" came on my iPod. Long before most of you heard of him, and definitely before he became tedious, James Blunt guided us through a smelly Gloucester Road studio, 30 days without beds (or a TV), three newspapers and bottles of wine per day, and jobs that only newly-arrived immigrants could love.
But then Apple paid its dues; as my 15 bus wandered through the streets of The City of London, past Lloyd's, the Gherkin, the Tower of London and Tower Bridge, the music changed, picked up tempo, and reapplied some of the shine that can be lost in the day-to-day of this city. I rode the eight floors to my flat, looked out at the city in front of me and remembered how lucky I am to live here. And how especially lucky I am to have made my life here with her. I will miss her something terrible. But wish her absolutely nothing but the best in her next chapter.
Cheers from Shadwell, East London,
Shaun H. Coley
Shadwell, Tower Hamlets
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