Sometimes the weekends felt so long. She had moved for the job she had been waiting for, what she had been aiming towards for the last two years. It had been worth the move 500 miles south but sometimes with a Saturday and Sunday stretched ahead of her with nothing to fill them but X Factor and a bottle of rose on her own it was hard to remember that. The city was overwhelming, so full of so much that sometimes it was easier to stay inside, or in her little pocket of the South West that she had come to understand.
Today though on the hottest day of the year so far she would try to venture out, to see a bit more, to feel she was ‘making the most of it’ as her mother kept encouraging to do. It seemed wrong to stay inside in such unusually warm weather so she aimed for the biggest bit of green on her page of the A-Z Wimbledon Common. Armed with TFL guidance, sun cream, a book and her iPhone she set off on a 45 minute, stifling bus trip to Wimbledon village and arrived desperate for the toilet. She doubled back on herself and passed a busy pub, large groups of people in the beer garden, enjoying the sun and drinking the first pimms of the year. She strode in as if she was looking for a friend and just happened to spot the loo first. Then she strode out again trying to exude the air of someone returning to her group outside.
When she found the common itself, she was disappointed. She had imagined a large open space scattered with individuals and groups, sunbathing, eating picnic, playing sports. There were some of this but overall the area was small and cramped with visible and audible roads it seemed on all sides. There had to be more of it somewhere. And without an obvious map and only the guidance of her phones slow and small GPS she strode off in the most likely direction.
Crossing roads and choosing paths at random she found herself shortly in a very different landscape, dense bushes and open spaces and very few other people, she pressed on looking for the ideal spot to sit and read and enjoy feeling out of the city. Carrying on walking until she could find it, her surroundings changed again, the green she had been walking across became marshy, sodden from the recent rains, the narrow paths took strong, decisive lines across country covered with tall, bare trees. There was no where to sit and no option but to carry on. Not many other people had come to this part of the common and she began to feel an irrational panic that if something would happen to her out here no one would ever know. The combination of leafless trees and baking heat was unsettling and it felt, not that it was an especially warm day in April, but rather that this was how life was now, sweltering and barren and devoid of other souls. She traipsed the common for almost two hours, trying to find a way back to normality, unsure of which would be the quickest way back, first fixing to cut all the way through and out the other side, later deciding really she should go back to where she started and all the time watching that unreliable blur dot on her phone to judge here she should be. Above her the sky was a perfect empty blue, a natural disaster having grounded all planes for the last three days.