Within a week of breaking my leg I started wishing for one thing. I wished I had a porch.
When I talk about porches I’m talking about the Deep South. A porch with proper swings as chairs, where you sit and chat with passers by over glasses of iced tea. A place that provides a change of scene and that special kind of companionship with people you don’t really know.
I’ve never visited the Deep South so my knowledge is a stereotype gleaned from too many books and films. For all I know the pretty picture I’ve painted in my mind is a lie; can anybody save my dreams and tell me this type of living exists? Is it as magical as I wish it to be?
Days at home have been long and strangely lonely. Strange, because I like my own company and feel no need to surround myself with people constantly for the sake of it. From a young age I’ve spent many days walking around, travelling across and exploring London. No sense of loneliness or isolation about it. Cities are special because you’re never really alone.
With nowhere to go to, no ability to travel, I’ve missed connections with strangers. The woman on the same carriage every morning applying make up whilst I apply mine. The familiar faces on the road where I work. The man on the platform, just Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays, on the train I take home. And that one time we spoke and laughed because we were waiting on the same platform at usual – but this time at the weekend.
I’ve always needed the presence of strangers for inspiration and without them my imagination is dead.
If I had a porch I’d sit outside with the sun bringing me back to life, my face tingling from the heat. The dogs walking past would curl up for a rest on my lap. A jug of iced tea would sit next to tumblers waiting to be poured. They’d be no need for small talk as we are all neighbours here. We’d share the silence, evaporate the loneliness and enjoy the company of strangers.
If only I had a porch.
Image: Terence Faircloth