I woke up this morning craving Ribena and McVitie’s Digestive Biscuits. Two things I fell in love with when I studied abroad in London. Whenever I think of these things, I automatically picture my dorm room. It was a private room, so for once, I didn’t have to share my space with anyone. No one barging through to get to their rooms (one of the many fun perks of living in a railroad-style apartment!), knocking on the door, asking me to clean, telling me to do dishes or run to the store. Just my room, with a comfortable bed, a bookshelf with my schoolbooks and my shampoo and my hair dryer and my fancy soaps and makeup, a desk for me to sit and do my homework, a little wooden table where I kept a basket of oranges and a sleeve of McVitie’s that no one was going to take and eat without permission. A little stand with my neon blue wig that I wore to the Tower of London. Mine mine mine! Even when I managed to get my own room in my apartment back home in Brooklyn, it was never fully mine. But now–mine.
A room where I hung out with friends I made from my study abroad group, a room where I recovered after a massive hangover. A room where I read The Fifth Child by Doris Lessing and Shakespeare’s Pericles and Top Girls by Caryl Churchill and “Not Waving But Drowning” by Stevie Smith. A room where I cried myself to sleep after a bitter argument. A room filled with my emotions, my stuff, my life. A room that smelled like Lush’s Karma perfume. A room just blocks away from King’s Cross where I would take trains, giddy with freedom. Jessa, Explorer Extraordinaire!
One day, after taking a shower, I went back to my dorm room and cranked up the radio. “Love at First Sight” by Kylie Minogue had just started. The beat, so buoyant and joyful, Kylie’s sweet, girlish warble gliding along these sonic champagne bubbles. I unwrapped my hair from the towel and let it uncoil, wet tips brushing my bare shoulders. And I sang along, dancing with my big fluffy yellow bath towel clinging to me like a mini dress.
“And everything went from wrong to right/and the stars came out and filled up the sky/the music you were playing really blew my mind/it was love at first sight.”
No one was going to barge in. No one was going to laugh at me and my fat body. No one was going to tell me to hurry up. I took my time and danced. For the first time, I knew what it felt like to be authentically myself.
Love at first sight, indeed.
Fall in love.