"If it could only be like this always -
- Sebastian Flyte, "Brideshead Revisited"
I sit and eat pub food amidst rustic clutter,
and Dusty Springfield comes on the radio.
Later, standing in the electronics section
of a department store, Dusty appears
on every single television screen.
I think there's something oddly cinematic
about these moments, and then I want
nothing more than to return to last summer...
I read John Le Carré below the beams
of a converted farmhouse, under the arm
of rural France. Light filtered in through
the slats of painted wooden shutters,
and the whole world felt so wonderfully,
beautifully, continental and warm.
I sat in my blue and gold room
and typed our blue and gold story
on my laptop with a mug of black coffee -
convincing myself it wasn't pretentious
if I was being purposefully cliché;
it was the month I'd quit smoking,
and I needed to compensate.
The French say "Je t'aime";
they chalk it on roads to receive
a seal of approval from the bike tyres
of the Tour de France, or scribble
it on Calais-bound autoroute bridges.
I carried mine, my reciprocated "Je t'aime",
around with me all summer, like a lucky penny.
I had to keep inspecting it, holding it up
to the light, to see a flash of gold;
every morning I'd wake up in shock -
shocked by its very existence.
Now, I miss it all - especially the shock;
the surreal, giddy feeling of knowing
I wasn't simply dreaming...
And sometimes I wish I could be
eternally eighteen, trapped
in a blue and gold summer...
Seeing the flash as I held "I love you"
up to the light.