Coffee in Hampstead

My eighth day in London. I am sitting in this quaint little coffee shop called Ginger & White, whose claim to fame is an appearance in Somebody Feed Phil. And the claim to fame is well deserved, going by the coffee I am sipping on. Reading this book called American Marriage, and as is true for all relationships on paper or in person, it ain’t easy. A story about a wrongfully incarcerated man and his wife. Over a long (and the best kind of) dinner with Aaki, we were talking about why do we seek relationships in the first place. Wasn’t being single easy? Well I guess it was. But then you remember the meals you cooked, and there was no one to tell you that it lacked a bit of salt but was the best chicken ever. You remember the times when you laughed at a line you are reading in your book, and it was just you grinning at your book. You remember that you have a preferred side of bed now, and the warmth on the other side is the best thing you wake up to. You laugh. At inside jokes, at the most mundane things, at my unkempt hair and her stories. You laugh till your belly aches. Till life feels light. Till growing older feels like a fun thing to do. So, I guess, yes being single was damn easy. It was happy too. But someone very wise once said that when you find someone who makes you laugh, that’s a keeper.

Going back to my day in Hampstead, this neighbourhood is beautiful. I am trying to convince Aaki to buy a house here, so that I can have my English summer, year after year. I have walked into two bread shops and three coffee shops so far. You can guess my life choices. Coming to a city without a checklist is liberating. I have barely met any humans and have been the bare minimum amount of social. Thankfully, friends know and tolerate. 🙂 I have also walked everywhere in London, and stopped at as many bookshops and coffee shops that I could. P has given a list of places which are Michelin bib gourmand – which I loosely translate to budget Michelin restaurants. I have been diligently checking off places from this list, and what a find it has been!

Two more days here, and I go to another city. Living out of a bag for years has brought in a certain comfort level for change. Yet, I long for familiarity. Of people and of the place I call home now.

Signing off with something I read recently.

Love isn’t terrifying like that. It’s walking the fucking dog so the other one can sleep in. It’s doing taxes, it’s cleaning the bathroom without hard feelings. It’s having an ally in life. It’s not fire. It’s not lightning.

Less by Andrew Sean Greer

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