The sublime moments in our lives are pinpointed in our memories. They fill our souls with block colour, that bursts out of mouths and fingertips, creating the most unique time of our lives. But, like all palettes, there are areas of grey with indistinguishable vast shades; filled with torment, lost souls, and where lonely sadness thrives. Vices hide in the shades of grey, those terrifying little demons that can control and cure us, stand with open arms ready to cushion the fall from euphoria. We find comfort in them. Words filled with rage that pierce so deeply from the people we admired, in what seem like the times of golden lights, overcast our souls as we plummet from towering heights into the seas of grey.
Let me tell you about the extraordinary ordinary people who live within the grey…
Home. What is it? Many of you probably thought about family, a little house. But home is something entirely intangible. It’s the people or person where you find a corner of comfort in the world. Moving around, stability was never an option. Idlily narrating the world as you watch life unfold before you; old couples walking the same streets for over 50 years, the young man who sings in his suit to the tune of a new job, the girls who laugh about their weekend adventures in the coffee shop windows. It’s these milliseconds of humility that generate tiny illuminations of colour, like individual lights on a Christmas tree, to create the most priceless artwork of all; us.
I used to reject the idyllic dream of a home. People of importance, those who we give pieces of ourselves to and who we let into our own greyness, eventually find a way of migrating and we are left stranded in the shades of grey. Like everyone, I felt loneliness so much more as I got older.
In between jobs that never really lasted long as I tried to make the rent, scared of commitment to a career or kickstarting those dreams, I thought was this really it? The dullness of the grey cloud that cloaked my aspirations meant I couldn’t see what was above it. That was until I met some rather extraordinary individuals in a little pub. Two men who had the bravery and sheer determination after all the curveballs life had thrown at them, to chase their own dreams, showed me that time will actually be on our side, and we cannot live like it’s a minute to midnight. A couple, one with a heart and soul that illuminated the room, with so much care for others, and the other with such admirable passion and drive, taught me that it takes courage and compromise to make a life whatever you want it to be. After the laughter had settled, and the lights came down, I felt like I could start to see the blue in sky again.
There was also the fact, I was miles away from family who became indifferent by distance, where the voicemails and read text messages were our acknowledgements of each other. But isn’t there beauty in the knowledge that we were lucky enough to have all those years together? The dining room tables that doubled as dancefloors, where we danced into the morning sun, laughed until the tears fell from our eyes, and felt like we were the only people left in the world. Those are the things I miss. But to look back fondly, finding nothing but love in these moments, is to know this will always be ours. And no amount of mileage could make me undervalue the times where we were all together, before some departed from this life, others transitioned in their own lives. I’m thankful that those were the people who taught me to see the colours the world had to offer, from our little corner of it.
Then there was the autopilot life of the city, where we always had somewhere to go, but no actual destination. I saw the lights of London, those that reached the brink of the universe like still comets, seemed rather dull and repetitive after a while. Until I met you; the friends you will hear about another time and the boy you’ve heard about before. However brief and wherever we were, you each stood with me, and suddenly I found the peace in the blend of the stars above and the London lights. I knew we could be alone together, and that was okay.
For you my darlings, those who raised me, broke me, and stood by me, will live in the grey. This way I cannot forget you, as I walk along my bridges to block colour and I will see your reflections in the rivers of grey. How extraordinary the years have been, for such ordinary people like you and me.