It’s not smoggy like they say it is in London, at least I don’t think so, but the River Thames is filthier than I had imagined. I saw it from the plane window last week but I don’t see it now from the fifth floor of my Soho apartment on Carnaby Street where the drunkards prowl the streets from 9-5 and 5-9 and where they pass towards Shaftesbury Avenue and Chinatown or at least Google Maps tells me if they keep heading east that’s where they’ll bleed out into the streets like fire ants when you hose them down with water. Not that they’d take my advice. “Hey sir, Chinatown’s the other way” and he’d say “Oi! Girl you haven’t left your flat since you moved here” and his partner would say “I can smell your rubbish from here” and I would hang my head as they say I should take the ferry down towards Greenwich. But I haven’t left my flat because those double-death mobiles move so fast and the people push you aside if you’re too slow and I’m afraid of what will happen if I don’t “mind the gap.” My nana said she couldn’t be prouder of me for being the one that “gone to explore the big ol’ world” but if only you could see me now Nana, stuck in my one room flat where the kitchen is squished next to my cot and the washer is where a dishwasher should be and the bathroom door splinters my knees when I sit on the toilet— sobbing about my insecurities—and all I do is lean my head halfway out the window to see what kind of Londoner I don’t think I’ll ever be. I can’t send you a postcard yet Nana because I’m dirtier than the River Thames and it has gone a whole lot farther than me.
Kelsey Parrotte is a senior at Chapman University studying creative writing and literature. She aspires to write books for children and currently works as an editor for Chapman’s art and literary magazine, Calliope.