Deja Vu In Euston | Thoughts From The British Library

By Lucy Harbron - 19:49

I keep being struck by the symmetry of my life, the spirals I fall into without realising until the twos confront me. I got déjà vu on a wooden stool in Euston and realised my ass had graced it before. This exact spot, two year ago, I wrote pros and cons lists over the same coffee.

I know it probably isn’t true but I feel like cars have looked the same my entire life, every one seems familiar in its unremarkability as I remember everything and nothing at 23, both more and less burdened than at 21. My own familiarity regularly becomes the most changeable thing in my life, with new aches and the sudden noticing of grown inches making me a stranger in private seconds. My handwriting looks foreign every time I try and transcribe it. I behave like a new person in every conversation with my mum, hearing feedback from a stranger somewhere between London and Middlesbrough.

*This is a side note to memorialise the old woman at the coffee counter whose warm voice echoes into the walls like she’s hugging the concrete as an old friend. The barista stamps a loyalty card and I wonder if she’ll feel familiarity in her legs too.

Lately I’ve been thinking that my face has irreversibly changed. I can’t pin point a single reason why but something seems shifted. I can picture the person my body senses here, like a separated memory – allusive, elusive. She had blonde hair two years ago, wore the same coat. It was short and different two years before that. Three strangers circling a block in gaps of twos, all getting different trains to different homes, two of us weighing up how it would feel to live here and me the consequence.

If we sat in a row, I’d look secretly from the corner of my eye, wondering where I’d seen them before. Like every car on the road, like every café mug, I know you but don’t but do, as I return to the same places you recommend me in the past, from personal experience. 

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