I look down the corridor and it is still. I look out of the window and I see a formation of seven geese soar above the roof. I bought a chilli plant this morning and was given a white porcelain pot to place it in. The stolen clock now contains batteries and tocks above the bookshelf.
There is nothing profound in saying this: how times change. Everyone’s said it. And everyone’s felt it I bet. The return of seasons make progress seem familiar but times are never similar. Not that I’ve found anyway. I have always had a penchant for chilli plants and that began two years ago when I lived in an ex-council flat in Bethnal Green, which was a pub crawl away from Columbia Road Flower Market that opens every Sunday. The narrow street would fill to bursting with flowers; stalls and hawkers; coffee enthusiasts and fixed-gear bicyclists; expectant skinny mothers and babies in suede, it was a version of heaven - back then. And I would try and pick up the dregs of flowers that hadn’t been sold at the end of the day, because it was cheaper still and I would always be enticed by the chilli plants. The red and yellow bulbs that shone, and I knew you could eat them and the taste would be sweet or bitter and if you’re lucky, extremely hot.
Friends I cared about but no longer see stayed with me back then. In my rented apartment that I no longer live in nor share with the people I knew (the housemates have all scattered too.) The friends who stayed over had only just finished university with me and so there was real promise of visits and “no plans over the weekend” and such and such. And when I think of the daily trials and tribulations of two years ago it was different – I was drunk more, I couldn’t tell if I enjoyed my job at all, people who meant nothing meant everything, and the Winter seemed long. Maybe Winters always seem long and we forget because Summer stupefies us.
Today on the bus a woman thus spoke to a neighbour:
‘Make the most of the sunshine
You don't know when the breeze is coming
In this town
And the darkness'
In her Caribbean accent she had directed it at a neighbour who wasn't sat beside her. Oh, there was someone there certainly; it wasn’t a call of madness. It was sound advice. Later she fell asleep. I heeded it. I should be enjoying every minute of this.