Actually there was nothing remotely British about this reunion with Zorah if we are talking about being civilised, I just liked the sound of the title because we happened to be in Britain. We sat on the pavement ten meters from Tony Blair’s house, ugly-laughing, and the night before that we “slept” without removing our make up (Aisha and Yasmina are cringing right now).
Two years ago Zorah and I each went on solo soul-searching trips to London that happened to coincide for a bit and bonded us for life when we met up there, on a freezing Boxing Day outside Selfridges. So long after, so many cities later, we still call this the “city of our souls”, we still talk about that brief time we shared, and still lie to ourselves that we are sponsored by Massimo Dutti. And still, no one except us understands why. Obsessed with this city and baking, Zorah moved to “our” city to pursue her patisserie dreams, and I couldn’t be more proud. I had to see her, to have one last sleepover, and say one last goodbye to her and our city. We re-lived our love for shisha in Edgeware Road, and shopped in Oxford and spoke about boys and laughed about things that probably weren’t that funny.
I look at her happiness and listen to her adventure, and I am so happy for her, I could never explain. Her excitement rings with enthusiasm and reminds me of when I first came to Doha, and basically ignored everyone back home for a while because it was going a little too well over here. It’s always easier when you’re the one who is leaving. It’s a lot harder being the one left behind, and when I get back to Cape Town, her usually daily-presence (generally a two-minute drive away), is going to be a gaping hole. It’s the one thing I’m not looking forward to!
As for saying goodbye to London, my stomach is still knotted at the thought, as though someone broke up with me. Seven trips later, and still it will never, ever be enough.