There’s a park, off of the beaten track, around the corner from my flat. It doesn’t get a lot of visitors, the grass isn’t often cut, one of the swings no longer has a seat and the signs meant to protect the children showcase more graffiti tags than words of advice. It’s become part of my routine to gaze at these elements of neglect as I write from a bench on the far side of the green.
Around that bench tulips have been planted, loved and have grown into a rainbow. The colours are reflected in the canal that flows closely behind my seat, a canal that you can hear the water move in because the park is so peaceful. When I’m at a loss for words I look at the only sign in the park that hasn’t been splashed with colour, that rests right behind me. ‘In memory of Carlos Gómez – forever finding beauty in the least expected places’ 1962 – 2010. This bench is one of my favourite places in the world.
It’s a place where I feel safe, where I feel free to lose myself in my own world not thinking about anything except the words on the page in front of me. It’s a place that I feel happy to be a part of. It’s a place I’d like to introduce you to, where you too can be a part of the beauty that Carlos has spent his life discovering.
One day, when I’m ready to give you my heart.
There’s a lot of things that I don’t share easily. I don’t wear my heart on my sleeve, I won’t tell you if you’ve upset me, or hurt me or even angered me. Me and my emotions are still getting to know one another, much like me and you. I won’t share the parts of my past that have changed me and I won’t share the places that I consider home. But I will share with you that when I’ve opened up to you, when I’ve let you in, when I’ve shown you the places that I feel the most safe, I’ll have fallen for you.
When something happens in your childhood, when you leave home younger than your peers, when you spend a few years travelling, it’s difficult to picture home as one place. For me home is a collaboration of the places I’ve lived in and the inspiring people that I’ve met along the way. Places, people and memories that I keep very close to my heart.
There are roads I walk down in London that place a smile on my face just from being on them. They remind me of moments that created the newest version of myself. These strips of concrete take me back to some of my favourite times and one day I’ll walk down them with you, hand in hand, telling you all of my secrets that are hidden in London’s walls.
In other parts of the world there are beaches I’ve slept on after watching the sun rise through the clouds, coffee shops filled with men and laptops that I’ve spent my days in reading everything from Shakespeare to E.L.James, restaurants I’ve spent evenings in with people I barely know savouring everything on offer, street markets, beach markets, farmers markets, flea markets, every market under the sun that I’ve spent days wandering – looking for a purchase that has resembled the freedom that I’ve felt, aimlessly wandering the stalls. I’ve entered mosques not due to my feelings towards religion but because I wanted to feel a part of something bigger than myself, I wanted to be a part of a belief that I admire. There are country roads in my home town with thousands of ladybirds adorning the bridges in winter that light up my life.
All these places are a part of me. A part I’ll share with you when I’m ready to give you my heart.
These places and so many more around the globe have helped me to become the person that I’m proud to be today. One day we’ll buy a world ticket and I’ll show you the cities that changed how I view the world, you’ll meet the people that I’ve carried on loving despite the distance, you’ll be holding my hand as I introduce you to every place I’ve ever called home that still has a piece of me.
For you I’ll take down my self-built walls. I’ll expose every part of me, every part I’m ashamed of, every part I’ve guarded from you will be yours for the taking. I promise you that when I’m ready to give you my heart, it will be worth the taking.