I should be doing stuff not sitting in a cafe writing this. Doing important stuff. Last minute things, I don't know, making sure my personal papers are in order, or that I haven't left something vital in the kitchen or the bathroom of the house I am about to leave for good. I have had this feeling so many times before when moving on permanently from a town or a country, the sinister calm before the storm, the fake spacious inertia, mucking about burning up minutes and hours whose loss I am so sorely going to regret tomorrow, or the next day, but knowing is not the same as changing something, the two stare at each other through the window of two trains pulling out of the same station.
My good friend Jessica, who took this picture, and who has put up with me for... ever, it seems is one of the knowables I will miss. Going to an unknown place is like one of those dot-to-dot pictures. In some cases, you can predict exactly what you're going to get, even though your first raggedy lines of reasoning may need smoothing out. I quite like the delicious darkness of the yet unilluminated picture in my head. New places are always less prestigious than in the imagination; like celebrities, they seem much shorter in the flesh, but in my experience they are better illuminated, and more practical. And I like filling in the empty map in my head with roads I know. But I have to get there before I can do that.