‘It is very nice, this nice weather we’re having.’ I try to work out what Sedartis thinks about simple things. Sedartis agrees, but: ‘it is also a burden.’
‘How is it a burden?’ I ask him, though I feel that I know the answer already.
‘It is also a burden because it insists on our enjoyment of it. If it were raining, or grey and drizzly, or at the very least cloudy and disagreeably damp, we would both be happiest sitting indoors and doing some work on the computer or listening to music or having a nap or watching a documentary we had recorded months ago and never found the time to catch up with or play the guitar and sing an old song, quite badly. We would be deeply content and in the process get some of the things done we have been meaning to do for a while. Instead, we have to sit outside and enjoy the sunshine. Or go for a walk. We go for long walks anyway, there is nothing wrong with long walks, quite the opposite, we love our walks come rain or come shine, but with this very nice weather comes an inescapable obligation: it would be a terrible waste of a beautiful day now to be locked inside and not happy.’
‘But it’s good to be happy, is it not?’
‘It’s good to be happy,’ Sedartis agrees. I sense there’s a but.
‘But the effort of being happy can be just too much. Sometimes it is much more agreeable to be moderately gruntled, and enjoy the undemanding low-level misery that comes with being English in England. This stridency of happiness overbears.’
I know he’s right, though I will him to be wrong and I close my eyes and inhale the neither warm nor cold air. The city is in constant, fuel-driven agitation: cars and lorries and aeroplanes and buses and the ambulances. Always, always the ambulances.
I like the sun on my skin and the heat that expands under my cheekbones. I enjoy enjoying the weather, burdensome though it be.
A big fat clouds starts wandering across the sun and immediately the air feels much cooler, but not quite yet chilly. I open my eyes and see it will pass ere long.
I like autumn, though it signify decay. This year, I’ve chosen to stay in London rather than go away. I like London, I love London. It troubles me, right at the moment. There is too much cold money breezing in that doesn’t do anything other than stifle the cracks that before let the light shine through; that deadens the life that makes London unruly, infuriating, adorable; but still I love it, because I know this siege, too, will be withstood, like the small cloud across my sun this very moment, it will pass, and ere long. I have an old-fashioned, daily rejuvenated love affair with ten million people, with more history than I know to make sense of and a generous, rebellious, untamed and untameable heart.
I sense there is a change in the air and I know the change will be profound.
Sedartis nods in agreement and some slight tingle of anticipation; I close my eyes again and take it all in while it lasts, while it lasts…