HOME: BEFORE AND AFTER

Coming back to a city I left for London is like returning to your childhood bedroom: everything has a memory, meaning and nostalgia, but it holds the soft, faded glow of time. London has its glittering lights and opportunities that seem dreamlike to an outsider, but very quickly become a reality for anyone ambitious enough to take them. 

  
Liverpool, for me, is my childhood city and through my eyes and those of many others, it has gone through many eras in my lifetime. 

I too have gone through many eras, and have changed and been sculpted into a constantly evolving person, basking in the sparkle of new experiences and finding comfort in remembering old ones.

New Year’s Eve has brought my boyfriend and me up to Liverpool, and we are staying at the very top of the city in Hightown, with my dear friend Tracy.

  
Tracy is an inspiring lady: I met her through Rachel at a market in The Kazimier. Rachel was living with Tracy for a few months, her plans to soar across Australia as a burlesque performer being dashed when she had a cycling accident, her high heels (!) getting caught in the spokes, tossing her off the bicycle, leaving her with a few cuts and bruises but a broken ankle to boot (pun most definitely intended.)

Almost three years have passed still then, but the fruitful friendship remains. 

Months ago, I suggested William and I stay in Liverpool for New Year’s Eve, a wonderful opportunity to show him my home during the festive season, it being our second stay together (the last time was way back in June.) 

The event of the Scouse decade, the closing part of The Kazimier, be our destination to see the new year in, an unforgettable night not just for its frivolity but the opportunity to introduce William to people and a place so important to me for a year of my life. 

   
 We take the train from Liverpool Lime Street to South Parkway to pick up a rented car that would serve as our way of getting around Merseyside from a distant Formby. 

Will and I watch Liverpool and its suburbs fly past the window. These familiar sights are of course made unusual by sharing them with someone close to me but relatively new in my life.

We discuss Liverpool and its old black and white Victorian history, and the histories of England’s other regional cities; how strange it would be to imagine promenading crinolined ladies in place of today’s flashy Scouse girl. 

  
Our car arrives, driven by a friendly but very Scouse man’s man. I sit quietly and shyly in the back whilst Will and him discuss the latest and greatest in football and its environs.

We’re whizzed to the office for the obligatory but highly unglamorous task of admin before being our own masters behind the wheel. 

We take the A road, driving through parts with many a memory: Toxteth, Sefton Park, Lark Lane. Parties, friends, shops and meals from my life in Liverpool come back, and I smile whilst pointing out all the friends I knew there.

We’re now in the unfamiliar territory of North Liverpool. Kensington, Everton, Bootle. Driving out of the inner cities to semi-detached suburbia, Tracy’s little Hightown hobbit house feels closer. As said many times by Will, navigation is perhaps not one of my natural talents and we find ourselves in more than just a couple cul-de-sacs.

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