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‘If I really know these lands, then why do they continue to change each time I stare at them?’ I whispered to myself on sight of hazy monuments across the wobbly panorama. And, with the early autumn sun tinting the building silhouettes pinky gold, and colouring swaths of park grass almost comforting-yellow, those outlines did appear to be transitory, liquid-like forms miles into the megalopolis. I was struck with a reassuring déjà vu, a lovely blanket-cosy feeling from somewhere within a past that it was impossible for me to have experienced. Other lads reaching the crest of the hill must have been enveloped by this gladdening sentiment before I was, and I strode with great purpose surmising that future travellers along this path would be too.


Leftover energies brought the boroughs into the early winter, into a colder passage. Incessant underlying moods: hope, confusion, empathy, regret, distress. Swiftly, the inhabitants had emptied the royal, sprawling parks and headed in, towards glowing front-rooms filled with beaming TVs, kettle steam, deskside lamps, and assorted out-of-oven pastries. Whenever I passed an open window I shivered with a sense of awesome expectation and homeliness. Occasional strips or blocks of houselight landed on the backstreet pavements. The latticework of roads spread out, harbouring deathly and ambiguous echoes, notes to remind of gloomier territory – but at once across the hillsides, life’s markers were evident in golden bonfires; beacons for the night and a hustling, emergent notion too.


I felt something, and it was greater than any desire, any pointless craving.


Through grimy fogs, in one of the threads of sodium beaming from a street-light, I was convinced I saw the serene face of a familiar person – either from the recent weeks, or whom I was just about to meet. The other occasional walkers moved in random patterns, quietly, mostly unseen inside those dense greynesses, unless they too were touched by the glaring lamps. ‘Oh,’ I slumped out as I realised I had only circumnavigated any meaningful signal from this promising tactile encounter. Away from here, the backdrop of an ever-present surrounding city near-mutely hummed and offered up a vision to the imagination of its deeply embedded patchwork of arterial roads connecting chess-board-lit high-rise blocks littered with nagging dreams – and it was accurate.

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