So I pack up my bags, take one last look in the mirror and head out of the front door. I drop the keys through the letter box, clatter down the path and look up at the sash windows. I'd been loaned the use of a fabulous house owned by an actress married to a novelist. Apparently a famous son has a tendency to drop by, but he didn't. And they were away in New York, so it was just me, lots of space, and a beautiful garden, in London, a short walk from Waterloo Bridge. I headed to the bus stop, on my way to Euston, on my way back home to Manchester. And it wasn't just the suitcase that trundled heavily; the city didn't want to let me go. The hungry monster wanted to absorb another person and drag her away from home - what with its big red buses, and shiny buildings pah! Not me. Then I stood at the bus stop. Then I got on the bus. Then I shuttled away. "Not with southern fairies," said my stepbrother, once I was back home. "I like southern fairies," I said. Nancy is just back from New York: "I want to live in New York, I love it," she said. "Well you should go... if that's what you want, now, then you should go. We are single," I explained, "early thirties. Been through university. Had jobs. We aren't going to do this at forty. It's not the same at forty. And there are no boyfriends here to say, 'don't go'. You'll easy get a job in New York. We can meet back here in Manchester in some years. I could hook up with you in New York. Maybe we both need to try something new." "Maybe," she said. "Are you going to do it?" "What... Move to London? I think so. I don't know." "But what if you fall in love here before then?" "It would have to be an enormous thunderbolt love to compete with that."
I spoke to Jack. "It'll be hard," I said. "For both of us. It will be just you and me. We'll have to make new friends. And live in a flat not a house. But I want to try it. I don't know how long for." "Okay." "You mean it? Leave your friends? Try a new school... and it's very noisy." "Yeah, let's do it," he said, nodding sensibly. "Yeah."
I must be mad, that I'd leave my beautiful friends Prince and Zelda and Nancy and Emmeline, Sybil and Dillon, and my family... all three factions, because I like the sound of city, and the look of the river, and red buses.
"September," I said to Jack. "Right, September," he said.
I hope I'm brave enough. To go it alone. Really alone. I don't know if I'm brave enough.