April 4th – I broke free after lunch and had time to kill in Walsall. It wasn’t a particularly bright afternoon, but I headed up to the church and memorial gardens as I hadn’t been up there in a long while. The Memorial Gardens were as I remembered them; quiet, peaceful, solitary and beautiful. Slightly down-at-heel, but no less beautiful for it, the flowers there are just kicking off. I have great memories of this little-known spot, but while I was here, it occurred to me that somewhere in the intervening years between my discovery of this wonderful place and the present here and now, that either Walsall had lost me, or I had lost Walsall.
These places, these streets, used to feel like mine. I used to haunt them. I knew them well, the shops, pubs, cafes. Today, although I pass through regularly, I don’t know any of it anymore. I still get the geography. But I’ve lost the sense of belonging.
The horizon I could see from here today over the dull, overcast town was the same horizon, but changed, I saw three decades ago. But somewhere, inbetween that place and this, I exchanged that whole wide world for other horizons.
I wept a bit. But you can’t go back; I can no longer class this place as mine. But there are other places, and this will always, always be a part of me.
For better, or for worse.