Cambridge is ungraspable, uncontainable. The universe condensed into this small space, streets squeezed and teaming. An explosion. Cobblestones and pavement, the river and the green, the boats and the cows, the history, the High Street. It’s eating gelato on the stone wall and racing on a bike to catch the train to Ely for tea with friends. Fine china and old maps. Old buildings. Fresh flowers from the flower lady. Dipping an oar into black-glass-sunset-shimmer river surface, crossing under the spray-painted railbridge, watching the orange-purple haze over the meadow, way out there where few others have ventured at this time of night. Birds flapping overhead. It’s the swans and the houseboats and the distant ringing of cycle bells. Punts and punting and those who punt. A table of friends at a favorite pub with extra chairs drawn, a picnic blanket spread on grass, bikes and bottles scattered, highline crew in the distance, a game of cricket nearby. It’s a walk in the dark, in silence along the stream in the same space, empty in the cold in the late-afternoon winter darkness. A reality checkpoint. An audiobook in the bathroom. A cafe, or several in one day. It’s striped market tops, queuing for cake on some Sunday mornings. Browsing the local bookstore and the antique bookstore and the university bookstore, taking all those books and the same picnic blanket to the park alone to read them. It’s fireworks for the May Balls, which do not take place in May. Shakespeare outside with a bag overflowing with more fruit and cheese and crackers than can possibly be eaten. Daffodils in March, wisteria in April, the first of the roses in May. A summer of roses, yellow and red and pink. The neighbors’ gardens effortlessly painting every walk home. Then, the green on the buildings turns to red, the leaves fall, and after a blink of darkness, suddenly the snowdrops appear and the magnolia turns pink. Walking through the Botanic Garden on a cold February Day to find warmth in the glass house. I’ve lived in this place for four years; four gorgeous, beloved years. I will hold on to and love those years forever, and I will always be searching for my way back.
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