It is with a heavy heart that I’m writing to you, hoping this message will somehow reach your heart. This is it. Today, I’m leaving your warm embrace. When you read this, I’ll be on my way, most likely staring out the window of my train, waiting for the Eurostar to plunge into the darkness and re-emerge on the French side where I will start a new life, a Channel tunnel away from you.
Some say all good things come to an end, others say good things come to those who wait. Whichever is true, you have showered me with goodness and if it exists elsewhere, I will wait until I find it again. Patience is a virtue of mine, but you already knew that, for you have been the faithful companion of my adult life. You have been the constant in this chaos that swoops down on every teenager moving away from home. You have been home away from home.
Why did that not suffice? Why, despite everything you gave me, was I not happy? Am I too picky? Too naive? Or I am just too eager to see the world beyond your island? I suspect, after five years of cohabitation, you know me like the back of your hand, and I know you understand I have to go, even if I don’t quite know why yet.
Still, I’ll always remember the windswept coasts of Brighton, the undercliff evening rides to Saltdean and the green hills above Moulsecoomb. I’ll always remember the Seven Sisters and the sharp, vertical edge of those white cliffs. I’ll always remember the way the sun shines on Greenwich Park and the way the fog descends on the riverside by Cutty Sark. I’ll always remember the unafraid squirrels climbing up my leg and the parakeets perched on the branch of certain London trees.
I can still see the sky of Lewes, lit up with fireworks and the bonfire turning to smoke on (remember, remember) the fifth of November. I can still feel the driving rain that soaked us to the bone that evening and the temperamental nature of your weather. I can still picture it: Hyde Park covered in snow, the lake shrouded in a thin veil of ice, the swans blending in with the white grass – a true winter wonderland.
Those moments are etched in my memory, like dead pixels burnt on my retina. They are precious and they make me smile. I can scroll through them with eyes closed and, in a split second, be swept away like a fallen leaf in the wind. That is why I am writing to you. Because with time, memory fades and I never want these moments to fade.
You’ve held my hand for five years, taken me places I never imagined I’d go and taught me things I never thought I’d learn. How can I say goodbye to you? How can I ever thank you for taking me in? This letter is the best I have found so far.
Please look after yourself while I’m gone.
With love, always,