Search
  • laurenrstranks

7 January 2021

This time of year always makes me think back to living in Cambridge, in a cold, grand old strangely-arranged hall of residence at Anglia Polytechnic Uni. I was only there for one academic year, but what a year to have chosen.


Watching the news last night (well, switching to CNN during each ad break of Beat the Chasers), I kept thinking about how it felt watching 9/11 unfold on the news, and the disorientation of it all. Last night was nothing like that really. The opposite of surprise, the opposite of disorientation.


Moving into that draughty building just a week later in September 2001, one of my new - not flatmate exactly, as the floors of this building were arranged with bedrooms in a sort of horseshoe shape around a communal kitchen, so... kitchenmate? One of the other people unpacking their things into the kitchen at the same time of me remarked “cuh - what about all that stuff in America, eh?” I didn’t know how to answer. Was there even an answer? Would there be one today?


I stand in front of the fridge wondering what to make for lunch and think about the CNN reporter who was reminiscing last night about George W Bush, and how statesmanlike he seems now in comparison to Trump. He said “W, who lived and served through the Iraq war...”


I snort and choke a little on a mouthful of ferrero rocher (a treat Gareth ordered for me along with about 24 alcohol-free bottles of Heineken for himself), caught between my mouth and nose whilst in disbelief I try to exclaim “lived through it?! He started it!?!”. Gareth sniggered and threw another shiny gold round treat into my lap, like a puppy reward.


I make a quick, simple, student classic for lunch. A can of tomato soup heated on an unreliable ceramic hob, with a cheese toastie cobbled together from some leftover Christmas cheese and a slightly odd-tasting bread the milkman left us for free, as an apology for not having what we’d ordered. I slice through the oozing cheesy sandwiches and the satisfying crumbly crunch reminds me that this is still the same little wooden chopping board I unpacked into my assigned drawer in that chilly shared kitchen in September 2001.


“What about all that stuff in America, eh?”

3 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

21 January 2021

Our windows are draughty. The storm is seeping in through invisible gaps, making the blinds shiver and the architraves moan like tired achey bones. We drown it out by listening to an old bbc radio com

20 January 2021

We’ve graduated from The Sopranos to The Crown. A brief mention of Anthony Eden needing urgent surgery in Boston whilst traveling home from America sinks my stomach as my heart beats fast. I feel anxi

19 January 2021

I miss train snacks. I miss the ritual of clutching a coffee on a train, bag squeezed between my feet on the speckled Lino floor, having spent my time in the Pret queue pretending to wonder what to or

 

©2019 by Lauren Stranks