Through cracked mirrors I see beautiful girls eat cheesy chips skewered with Matlows drumsticks. "Tek ‘nt feet of ‘nt table" suggests the big man with the suit. I am Tony Montana as I stretch my arms above the leather-plastic upholstery. The smell of one hundred perfumes fills my nostrils and temporarily replaces the acrid stench of a spew-and-red-bull-soaked carpet that bites the back of my throat. I sit, smoke and stare at the flux of jolly students as they jest, laugh and bicker.
As I tilt my head back I feel as though I have happened upon a David Lynch set, what with the yellow/black chequerboard roof, and the red plastic trees. In a sharp movement, the sensation such décor affords is replaced with the thought that my days on this sofa are numbered.
My realisation ignites a bout of nostalgia. In York, where the men call you "fella" and the women call you "love", I have spent the most tender of my years: indulging in gentle reverie and sporadic hedonism, three years have been but a gust of wind. The storm has left in it’s wake memories, some obliterated, some faded, and some as strong as the day they were born.
I recall vividly our pseudo-rebellious antics of our first summer term. Golf balls through windows, a roof-top chase with porters in pursuit, smoking the devils weed in early morning corridors, and then there was the goose. The act of retribution gone wrong: they had intended to capture a duck. Instead, from the standard-issue blanket, an altogether more dangerous orange-beaked-beast was let loose in my dear friends C-block room. It bit, hissed and shat as it bounced off his walls in a fit of terror.
More hazily I remember writing an assessed essay with the candy-floss aroma of Amsterdam skunk floating by the dormitory window. "Take it with you" they had said, as I cited my workload as reason to decline the offer of a free trip to Amsterdam. So I did, and if I remember correctly, wrote a pretty good essay on that crisp Saturday afternoon, with only the relaxed hubbub of the street below, and the laughing chambermaids to distract me.
Memories stir like the picture of a red-room in Ziggy’s. I see cheap drinks. Lots of them, all sweet and sticky: they keep you awake all night and into the morning but they make your stomach burn. Night after night after night rolls into one when I think of such places.
As I sit here in Toffs, with friends gathered at a round table, I realise that one day tomorrow will come, and it will be over. I will think back and long for these days to return, wishing that I can do it all over again. There must have been so much that I didn’t do here.
A friend from home, when explaining his early experiences of studying in London, said it was if "…there are diamonds falling from the sky, and I am desperately trying to catch them, but no matter how fast I move my hands, I still miss them, and still they slip through my fingers." It appeared to me at the time that his sentiment is central to the sensation of youth. I guess the trick is just to let them fall around you, catching the few that you can on your way, and to cherish the feel of those that your hand has known.