Don’t be a stranger

How many people do you meet every day in London? 

And I’m not talking those one-off randomly met people but buddies you actually interact and regularly share a bunch of meaningful moments with. So, probably, not that many?!

One who lives in London must be prepared to making new acquaintances all the time, new friends, sometimes a new love, as much as to seeing them suddenly set off for good. Think of a colleague leaving the office, a friend relocating in another city or out of the country, a relationship that ends with no ill feelings, or simply a pleasant acquaintance moving on, going places, other places, even in the same town. And with the city being so broadly spread, you as a Londoner are very aware that you’re not going to see them as much as you used to. And it lets you down.

“Take care of yourself, and don’t be a stranger.”

They all become strangers eventually, if not all, most of them. You’ll have lived some beautiful moments and experiences together, you’ll have created a bond, you’ll have shared some of your inner thoughts and feelings that you’re maybe still unsure of or simply haven’t fully bloomed yet – just because time wasn’t enough. You’ll have concentrated all your efforts in that little amount of time because there’s no right amount of time you should wait for to expose yourself to that person. Even if they eventually become a stranger. Or you do.

You promise yourself you won’t make the same mistake, that you’ll be more cautious next time. But you’re a Londoner and you’ll fall into the same loop once again. 

It all starts on a random Friday night at your local pub; you meet them and get to spend the night together, then the weekend. You discover how much the two of you have in common, or more, that they are such a surprise you couldn’t hope it to be. You understand each other from the very first minute, and before you realise it, you know you don’t want them to be strangers. So when the farewell time comes and they’re about to hop on that train, you will not want to lose them, and you’ll come clean, quietly, stammering: “I love you.” 

How many people do you meet every day in London? Hundreds, probably thousands. They might all just be strangers, or they might as well become a wonderful part of your life. 

Truth is, there will never be a right time to give it try, and you may never be going to see them again. That one might be your last time, they might be the last strangers you meet. 

They might as well be your last, one, true love. 



Jim
The Britalian Post

A woman

A woman is a fierce example of how a human being can champion bravery, fatigue and pain. A woman who is strong, patient and powerful is more than ordinary.

A woman is thoughtful, much smarter and sharper than any other human being. For a woman, overthinking, processing information, seeing through and deep understanding is more than ordinary.

A woman feels things long before they happen. She carries the burden of being so sensitive and sensible to reality. She carries the burden of her being a woman hitting hard on her body every month. And it’s more than ordinary.

A woman needs to accept that this is the way it is.

A woman cries openly, and publicly, because she needs to suffocate all the tears she drops privately. And she hides, and she fights. And nobody ever knows that this is more than ordinary.

A woman loves, because for a woman, love dramatically pulses from the inside and cracks her mood. And she can still smile. And she can still love. And her love is more than ordinary.

A woman is unique. And she is extraordinary.

And that woman is the one I call mum.

Happy International Women’s Day!!!

Jim
The Britalian Post

Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day.

The day when love’s in the air. The day when heart-shaped decorations are hanging pretty everywhere. The day when themed chocolate and treats of all sorts stack up at each main joint of the city.

The day when boys and girls hold hands, exchange flowers and sweet presents. The day when restaurants are packed and couples eat fancy gourmet food. The day when men miserably run out of money to impress. The day when being romantic is rather fair.

The day everybody thinks it’s commercial but they end up celebrating it anyway.

The day you yourself think it’s commercial but you wouldn’t mind opening the door and finding the person you love. Just like you do every day but today more than others.

The day when you get back home and sit alone – and it’s just another day.

But then my cuz knocks on the door holding a bottle of red wine.

And it’s again Valentine’s Day.

Jim
The Britalian Post

The apology

“Oh, I’m sorry!”

If you’ve ever been in the UK, you’ve heard this word innumerable times.

Every time people do something, say, inappropriate – like unintentionally bumping into someone while walking, asking to quickly move aside, opening a door when one is coming through, doesn’t matter what it is – the word ‘Sorry’ will be always echoing sharp.

It must be a sort of a local habit type of thing, that kind of politeness that mainly expresses fake and uninterested platitudes rather than truly kind intentions. That is, people don’t really mean it. It will always be a mean ploy, a shitty apology to veil a repellent so-what attitude. It’s a lie!

But then though, you figure it’s not a cultural thing at all; and it should be clear by now that I’m not referring to Britons or their manners. As all people just act alike. All people can build a rather good apology to beautify their lies – the truths they seek to convince themselves with in the first place.

A lie.
She who manically dancing and partying for her birthday – her infinite beauty that hits so damn hard on everybody. The night is feisty, and so is she. Given so, she keeps quaffing alcohol rashly, sticking her deadly lips deep in bottle tops – just to feel happy, to kill that loneliness, that emptiness somebody dug in her. To feel like feeling nothing, to stiffen those muscles that cause emotional pain: love.
She gets lost in all that, she lets herself go on the dancefloor, she abandons her cause the same way it abandoned her. She embraces that positive vibe and goes down pretty hard. 

She rubs against many, and then against him – modelling her body on his shapes, adapting her curves to his lust. And he doesn’t miss the chance; he knows it’s the right time to take advantage of her.

She turns, they kiss – arousal, she feels it.

Everybody though turns the other way. Nobody wants to watch. Nobody wants to be carrying the burden of what they see happening. Nobody wants to have to lie.

But then though, as soon as she regains control, she starts draining alcohol through her thick tears. She runs away – she knows that it was a mistake. She dashes into her friend’s arms. Shuttered. Crying. 

Now she has to lie. Quickly.

She gains compassion. Empathy.
“Poor little thing. She only wanted to forget him, to go over and start over. She was just in pain. She didn’t mean to let herself go. She was just in love.” 

And she with a trembling voice, “It’s because I love him and he just rejects me! It’s his fault damn it! He made me want to do it. He dragged me into that. I didn’t mean to… Sorry! Oh, I’m sorry!”

You know. Every time people do something, say, inappropriate, the word Sorry will be always echoing sharp.

Bitch.

Jim
The Britalian Post

The musical

One of the first musicals I ever saw was We will rock you, a future-set story where music is prohibited and human beings are under the control of a dictator that seeks to transform them into drudges prone to passive obedience. Kind of.
Unwilling to undergo this form of dictatorial power, rebel gangs fight with authorities to bring music back. The musical is shaped on the music from Queen as well as the characters that take their names and personalities from the songs. 

I saw We will rock you with my parents in January 2003 at the Dominion Theatre – guess where? – in London (same place, a younger Jim). Clear in my mind I remember the excitement, the surprise, the music played live, the comedy acts, the actors’ great voices, and a deep melancholy for the songs – considering that Queen were my first idols when I was only 4. The show ended with Bohemian Rhapsody, that is not only one of the best and most heartfelt songs ever but a real national anthem.

After the song’s last solo, you can barely imagine how it felt when Brian May in flesh and bones showed up on stage. A totally unexpected surprise that made the audience literally jump off of their chairs and loudly cheer to the top-notch rockstar.

We were standing in the last row as no more seats were available when we bought our last minute tickets, and the epiphany left us speechless: few meters away was the member of one of the most outstanding bands in the history, a band that my dad and I have always so badly loved.

The show, the songs, his presence on stage, all tremendously inspired me: I no longer wanted to be among an unknown audience. I wanted to stand out and be a star myself. 

I was very young.

See, I’ve always had a thing for musicals – for the way they make life seem so much more alive, for the pure representation of love, for the characters’ unbeatable courage, for the wise lines, for the glorious endings. 

I’ve always wanted to be the main actor and play an active role in a real-life musical. And in my mind I actually have. I’ve often dreamt of being in a perfect romantic late springtime setting – like a bench on a path surrounded by dim lampposts in a lonely but fancy park – sitting with that one girl you like. And make her night special by suddenly standing up, dancing and singing on that super cool music coming from nowhere. Nice, uh?!
I’ve also miserably tried with music in the endeavour to become a rockstar, and for a while, I really felt like one. I would have sacrificed my life, my sleep, my studies, my affections, my everything, to pursue the dream and be an active presence on stage. And it was definitely worth it, I don’t regret a minute of that time. But this is another story for another day.

So not long ago, I was in Edinburgh for a weekend escape with my cousin. That would be my birthday present from her side. Edinburgh was so cold that we thought we would soon start icing but the weather didn’t stop us from taking part in all the activities the city has to offer. Hence on the Friday we joined a pub-crawling event: 80 people, 7 pubs, cheap drinks. Heaven! I still have confused memories except for the stunning Spanish girl that I discovered to be so freaking beautiful only the day after on Facebook while going through a horrible hangover that totally knocked me out.

At the 5th pub, we would entertain ourselves mostly with two funny French girls, both students I reckon. While clinking glasses, the girls told us they would leave in 2 days for a journey through the Scottish Islands, and leading us into temptation, we were asked to join.

The night was over and we managed to get to the hotel safe and sound – obviously we had first stopped to eat a huge burrito at about 3ish in the morning. Did you doubt it?

The night after (our last night in Edinburgh), before going to the appointment with the Ghost Bus Tour, we had a beer at this rustic open-area bar on Princes Street. Live acoustic chill-out music was playing on the background while the wind was visibly dragging us away. Luckily, hot lamps were slowly warming our chats. 

I don’t think I need to be that specific but we’re cousins, right?! We have more or less the same blood flowing in our veins. We’ve grown up together, we’ve been facing London together, we’ve learned each other’s thoughts, secrets, fears, behaviour, flavours, types. Some may simply call it ‘family’; I will simply call it ‘love’. Point is, we don’t necessarily need words to communicate. A mutual look and she brought it up. What? The girls’ invite of course. 

Now hang on a sec. Stop all your current thoughts and ask yourself: what would I quit everything for? Does it need to be something extremely vital or I’m brave enough to challenge my life? Tough one!

That’s what we asked each other – and in the meantime, that melancholic music was boosting an ideal musical-style moment when you opt for the challenge and leave everything behind.
“It’s done! Decision taken.” – a mellow mutual smile.

In the real world though, what happens when we walk away from this very place and the music disappears in the distance placing a full stop to this musical we’re looking to play? 

I really wish we never considered this possibility. In that moment, job duties, career, commitments and responsibilities came up to interfere. 

We didn’t go. 

We spent our last great day in Edinburgh and went back to our regular life in London.

What had happened to the young people who were once supposed to be stars, who were once meant to stand out and take up on stage?

We had grown up. 

Once again we were no actors in the musical. We were only attending its grandeur.

 

 

Jim
The Britalian Post



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