I would be lying if I said that you’ve always had my heart because you haven’t. Before I left your tarmac streets in September, I thought you were dark, dull and dingy. Your concrete buildings towered over me like authoritarian figures holding me in a drab prison cell. You were bleak and you were dismal and I tolerated you.
Life was a cycle; forever going round like a hamster wheel that I couldn’t get off. The isolation and trepidation that you brought me were nauseating and no amount of happiness would change that – believe me I tried. Everything you were and had given me I resented – including the accent.
But despite all of this, I didn’t want to leave. You were comfortable and you were safe. You were the only place I had known. 20 years of my life have been spent with you and I’m not going to deny that they weren’t pretty great.
You must understand, I had to leave. I had to rid myself of the poison that you had infused in to my blood. I needed to get away for a while so I could relax again. So my muscles could stretch and my bones could recover. I needed to escape the box that had encapsulated me. I needed to breathe again.
The day I left for Glasgow was invigorating. I could taste my freedom. The vast amount of space I had imagined. The grey that had concealed me for so long would be replaced with all types of greens – now that is a colour I could get used to. The old buildings that would form the town would amaze me and the ones that haunt the skyline would be few in comparison to you.
When I arrived in Glasgow, I regained the passion I had lost. It was beautiful. Everything about it was quirky and fun. I felt calm and safe. We fit like a jigsaw puzzle – I felt comfortable. It was everything I needed – the artistic flare, the friendly faces, and don’t get me started on the accent. For now, I am happy to call it home.
But somehow through all of this, Glasgow reminded me of you.
I caught myself finding any reason to open the news and see your face. Like a Facebook stalker, I searched through the endless articles of news and events; smiling at your antics and shaking my head at the bad. But ultimately, proud to call myself a Mancunian.
I look back at your streets with fondness, your Northern Quarter with excitement and Spinniningfields with content. Your divisions are unique yet unified, and they form a layer of warmth around me. You are charming and you are beautiful.
I have been away for 8 months now and in summer I will be returning to you. Only for a short while before I must go on my way again. And I know that it is hard to forgive, but I am sorry for my accusations and judgements. It was insincere of me to think of you in such a way. Yes, your accent isn’t ideal and your streets are the darkest grey I’ve known, but I’ve learnt there are worse places to be.
It’s fair to say that I’ve missed you. I’ve come to realise that you are my home. The place that I will always come back to. You are an extension of me that I
can not will not get rid of. You are a city filled with adventure and I can’t wait to explore you again.
So Manchester, an ode to you and your people, your values and your humour. They are colourful and they are vivid and I love you.
(Momentarily at least).
You are a diamond in the rough.
My dear and oldest friend.