Dépaysement [Cambridge, Cambridgeshire]

by - December 10, 2015

Follow me to Cambridge, England.

(Don't. . .)

I cannot write about Cambridge.

 It is not that I am unaware of the depth of its history and the width of its culture. Or that I cannot see the beauty of its old architecture. Or that I cannot feel the mist of time within the college halls - the nebulas formed by the unwritten and unsaid thoughts of their former alumni.

 It is not that I was not captivated by the colours within the Botanical Gardens (oh, was I ever!). Or that I did not admire the secret forests and gardens which people magically fit in their small front yards. Or that I did not stop to smell the blooming flowers there (and how divine their aromas were!).

 It is not because the alcohol fumes in the Prince Regent pub were enough to get me drunk, that I cannot describe the town with clarity. It is not even because I spent my final days there in hospital, locked away from the heart and soul of it.

 I cannot write about Cambridge because underneath the Weeping tree in front of Clare College is where we sat down for a repose, after our feet had begun to burn from exploring the town's tourist attractions, and foraging through the second hand sections of its four-story bookstores. It is there that we listened to each other's favourite songs, as if we didn't already know them, and planned our future together whilst watching the freshmen moving in, already starting their own.

 It is because the smell of certain flowers only reminds me of you now, and how we would lie down in the gardens, on grass lawns the colour of spring. I would listen to you read Bulgarian short stories with a bad Eastern European accent. In return, I would read bits of poetry to you and hope you would not figure out that the author was always me.

 It is because it was not off the cheap Margaritas at 8 pm that I got drunk, but off the sound of your laughter, for I am one of the privileged few who get to hear it in its purest form. It is because when I was bedridden for a week you spent every single day snuggled in bed with me as we watched animated films. Let's not count how much we always stretched visiting hours.

 I cannot write about Cambridge. Not because of the false notion that no written piece could ever fully recreate the beauty of a town as rich as this one (when we all know that it can also go far beyond mere reflection, and turn mediocrity into romanticised longing).
 I cannot write about Cambridge because I am far too entwined in it to do that now; because with each written word and each completed sentence I am only writing a chapter in my own autobiography. Then again, is this not what writing is mostly about...

 But, most of all, I cannot write about Cambridge, because the most beautiful thing that I saw there was you, you, you. It was always you.

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