The bus journey of memories

I get on, beep my Oyster card and sit down. I have a magazine with me, intending to read it, but I know deep down I won’t actually read it. Because this bus journey is one which runs through the memories I have made since coming to London. I’m always drawn to look out of the window.

It starts by the pharmacy where I would come and get Bio Oil every week or so after my operation last year. To try and make my huge hideous scar fade a little. Next I’m at the garage I used to walk to when I was allowed off bedrest, to try and get my energy back. There’s the bike shop where I wheeled my bike in despair one day when I had a puncture while cycling to work. It was a brand new bike and I felt very protective of it. I hung around nervously while they took it in the back to fix, trying to catch a glimpse of it. And there’s the shoe shop where I worked for six weeks before leaving because the manager was awful. And opposite is the Waitrose I don’t like because it’s laid out differently to the one I usually go to. There’s the pub I once went on a date to. One of those dates where you realise that someone is much more likeable from a distance. Moving on to the getting-to-know-you stage had been a mistake. The Oliver Bonas shop is next. I’ve never been in there. I had a friend who worked at one of their other shops. On the left is the running shop which used to be a running and cycling shop. I lost faith in them when they got rid of the cycling part of the shop. I was quite a regular visitor, used to get kitted out in my lycra there. Then here’s the garden centre on my right. I used to cycle down here for compost and seeds etc, when I started keeping an allotment in my final year at uni. Next is the Memories of Mortlake shop. I always look at it from my bike or from a bus window and think it looks lovely but have never been in. Next, we are at the traffic lights and the bus stop on the other side of the road is where I used to wait when I worked at a coffee shop where the shifts started at 5.30am. Once, while waiting for the bus there, an old man started mumbling and shuffling over to me and when I listened to his mumbles, he was asking me what colour my knickers were! I promptly set off walking fast for the next bus stop. Next we come onto a road which is flooded with early London memories. We’re passing my old university on my right and the council estate where I lived for two and a half years having loads of fun but with the worst landlord in the history of the world.

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The university buildings cover the whole right side of the road until it ends at the road I used to cycle down when going into the park. I went through a phase of cycling around Richmond Park twice every morning first thing, before I did anything else. Next is the little cobbled road on my left where my uni friends and I would get a takeaway from Dong Phuong’s at least once a week, minimum. Next, up the road to the motorway and on my right is the other council estate where my friend, Sophie, and I viewed a flat before ending up at the one we passed earlier. We pass by Putney Heath and another council estate where Sophie and I viewed a flat with a girl we didn’t know, who never got back to us about whether she wanted to move in. It was a bit of a walk from uni anyway, so we opted for the one just over the road! Turn left and follow the motorway through Wimbledon Common, which I used to cycle across when the coffee company I worked for, needed me to cover shifts at the Wimbledon branch. I once got very very lost on the common for over an hour. I was quite frantic by the time I found a dog walker and asked him for directions. We’re now in Wimbledon Village and the bar where my friend, Robyn, brought me years ago, when I first came to her house and we had gone out dancing. We danced to Kylie’s Can’t Get You Out Of My Head. I had learned the dance moves from the video and we did them, over and over. Down the hill and approaching Wimbledon station, where we dropped Joe off to get the train, before going to the bar I just passed. We turn before the station and it starts to get into unchartered territory. We pass through Southfields, where I thought for years that my friend Jay lived. She would always leave early in the evening to get home on time and I wondered why she was being so over-cautious. After all, she just needed to jump on the one bus…. I think it was Sophie who pointed out that she did not live down the road in Southfields. She lived significantly further away in Southall…. Oops! Well it’s all south, that’s what I say. We go through lots of areas which are unfamiliar until we hit Tooting, and the cafe on my left where I once met Joe so we could go and explore Tooting, to report back to a friend who was soon to move to a campus there from abroad. And the restaurant shortly after where I met an old uni friend for dinner a few months after my operation, still feeling a bit fragile. This is where I get off, to do a bit of exploring and to make some more memories.

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5 responses to this post.

  1. Oyster cards, Waitrose, Wimbledon … you’re making me miss London! 😦

    Reply

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