What is it about London? Perhaps it is that little family up past the brick and the zig-zag stairs off the Kilburn high street. The speed-walking to the off-license and the change from a £5 note for a few Scrumpy Jacks in the half-light?
Maybe it is the architecture that feels familiar, similar to the poky Sandringham villas and the Queen Street morning-after grandiose with the cigarette butts on the ground and the lingering scent of smoke and spilt pints. Unreal city, under the brown fog of a
winter autumn dawn.
All I know is that we make our homes in other people. He tāngata, he tāngata, he tangata. There is something unspoken between people who have chosen to make their home in another city. Something deliberate and well-worn, wary, willing, about those who have travelled to shape their lives by a different set of inhabitants.
If you don’t go when you want to go, when you do go, you’ll find you’ve gone. Those of us that have left Auckland behind have done so at the expense of all the excess baggage that wouldn’t check in above the 23kg mark at the Air New Zealand counter. We have disrupted ourselves beyond rational self-interest and embraced a kind of wandering absurdity.
To seek out new homes in travel is to admit that you cannot calculate the risk – and to say yes to the outcome anyway. There is a kind of defeat in moving so far, a kind of radical acceptance of uncertainty that comes to shape every facet of your very existence.
Perhaps that is why my sense of home has been so disrupted by this little journey – because I have realised that my preliminary move to Brisbane was more of a push to the edge of the cliff rather than a purposeful leap of faith. I know too well that I do not grow inside my comfort zone.
That corpse you planted last year in your garden? Has it begun to sprout? Will it bloom this year? Or has the sudden frost disturbed its bed?
If London is a brave new world, this month has been a kind of dusk, breaking the beginning of a mid-afternoon sun that has begun to fall over a chapter of sticky summer heat in St Lucia. The Queensland moon is full and these hours are seeds being both reaped and sown back into a new home for a new moon.