The Tower

Written 2020

From the window I can see the blinking lights of the Canary Wharf tower. Leaving the curtains open has become a habit, or simply laziness. The blocks of flats frame the view of the tower. All their curtains are closed. I’m not sure when I last saw a human. Oh, there was that click and collect yesterday - when I went down, he’d gone. At least the groceries are still coming, for now.

I sip my coffee and look back at the book: the Alexandria Quartet. But my mind wanders off to other places. For some reason India is coming back to me. Such a far off time now, a different world, not just India, but here and now is a world gone crazy. The best was Darjeeling. Taking the toy train up the hill, it took twelve hours. Would have been two hours in the mini-bus.

Up there, in the thin air - if you climbed the steps between the streets too fast you went dizzy. From the top of Telegraph Hill, where the prayer flags are, the view of the Himalaya was amazing. I swore I could see Everest. Closer in were the tea plantations. Darjeeling, where the tea comes from.

Back in Blighty, retuned to a working life. Miserable existence, working nights, never seeing a soul, the only person in the department. Trust me to decide London was my home when Brexit comes along. That’s how you end up living in an overpriced box with a view of Canary Wharf.

I look at my book again and sip some coffee. Lawrence Durrell is in Alex, before the second world war, or so his book tells me. The character is in a similar box to me, only in a warmer country. This was before John Mills got there and had a nice drink of cold beer.

Downstairs the Romanian guys start shouting at each other again. I toss the book aside and try to remember something happy. That isn’t such an easy thing anymore. Canary Wharf fails to inspire me.

I then think of Finley. Oh I messed that up. We should have gone together to Japan. Things can’t be as bad in Japan as they are here. But I ruined that, just like I always do. I expect one gets what one deserves out of life.

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