I had the most amazing birthday in London. I turned 26 on a Barge in Paddington wearing my DiMaggio Yankees shirt that Tess bought me in New York and I went to my old local pub with lots of old friends from home that turned into even better friends overnight. My girlfriends made me a cake and I bought lingerie in Soho. We went to Bath and had picnics, got drunk in the park and swam. I stole the scrabble pieces from the pub and hid them down my playsuit. Then shimmied them out of the bottom in the park and Steve made words out of them on the ground. I spent the afternoon with boys in the old open air baths playing Marco Paulo and making chairs out of noodles. Banana and chocolate pasties taste like garbage.
I hung out with friends and friends of friends in East London – slowly running into more and more people and more and more types of booze. Cider in London fields, bloody marys in Hackney, dinner in a Dalston gastropub and beer in an ex African-American club with too many attractive men for my brain to handle. I went back with Poppit later, danced and kissed a boy called Sebastian with slicked back hair and a killer moustache.
Poppit and I live together for a couple of weeks in a room in Hackney. We spend nights in Dalston drinking red wine and falling over each other. Roasts in Stoke Newington at the Rose and Crown or The New Rose – dimly lit pubs with wooden walls on rainy Sunday nights, hungover and lying in the leather booths listening to The Horrors. We have the same conversations over and over and speak in shared jokes and repeated quotes. We’re not perfect spending 24/7 up in each other’s video but, like sisters, even doing the laundry turns into a peaceful adventure of smoothies and rose tea.
My two childhood friends kissed in London. I went to my favourite pubs and bars and got really drunk on Whiskey with people I love. We have five hour jam sessions at each others’ houses. I swear off hangovers. Then I remember how much I relish them. Days partying are interspersed with days in bed watching Barfly and Beverly Hills episodes. Being embarrassed becomes second nature. Acting like a twat becomes forgivable. And leaving it all behind, hard.