So, a month ago I sat alone at a pub in Leicester Square. I enjoyed, perhaps, the best glass of wine I've ever had. I had a little time before the curtain went up for "Much Ado About Nothing" at the Wyndham Theatre. It had rained on and off most of the day, culminating in a thunderstorm. Anyone who knows me knows I hate thunderstorms. I am terrified by lightning, convinced that its sole purpose is to kill me.
Late in the afternoon, prior to my trek to the Leicester Square pub, I walked alone across Green Park, adjacent to Buckingham Palace, while pouring rain and lightning danced around me. I walked briskly, all the while chanting to myself "I am not going to get struck by lightning and die in London." Finally, I made it back to my hotel, while the storm continued.
I was soaked from head to toe, and had about an hour to get put back together and out again to make it to the theatre by 7:30. By the time I was ready to head out again, the rain had stopped. The sun poked through the remaining storm clouds. By the time I got to the pub, the late day sunlight was streaming down, reflecting off the wet streets.
And so I found a seat outdoors at a pub, with a name I now cannot recall. I took a deep breath, and a long, slow, deliberate sip of wine. I had made it through the storm, and now all was calm. I was at peace, happy. It was a moment of such simple pleasure, and yet the kind of moment that is so elusive in my real life.
I keep asking myself what I have gained by traveling to London on my own. At the very least, I have found my "happy place". When everything seems to be falling apart around me, the mundane routine exacerbated by frustration, I think back to that moment at the pub. I take a deep breath and remember that I traveled on my own, I made my way through a foreign city on my own. I am strong and brave, and will never be the same again.