It took me more than a decade – a decade of sunshine and sandy beaches – to realize that I am missing Manchester. In the summer of 2004 I was packing my bags, preparing myself for one of the greatest adventures I would probably ever experience. I was so happy because I was finally leaving that dreadful place where I grew up. When I arrived in that red city in northern England I was excited. This was going to be my home for the following four years. I was greeted by smiles and a few downpours of rain.
Maybe it’s because of Brexit. Or perhaps Mhairi McFarlane’s You Had Me At Hello is the one to blame, but I cannot get the city out of my head. Some people think of rain when they talk about Manchester. In my mind I see sunshine, daisies, lots of laughter and dancing. Even though I usually don’t dance at all. My memories take me back to the Platt Fields Park and the University of Manchester Library. That’s where I used to go for a quiet moment. The central library was almost like home. I remember my friends and flatmates, and all the takeaways we used to have. And the drinks and the walks and the talks. The man in the corner shop called me Madame and I thought that was hilarious.
I fear that little will be left of the town that I used to know. The fish & chips will probably taste the same, but almost all the people I knew back then have left. Some are in London, others on the continent. Then there are those who returned to the other side of the pond.
You know, I never thought of staying. And I haven’t really been looking back either. There’s constantly so much going on in life that the city has faded into a dear memory. But let’s take a stroll down memory lane and return to 2008 for a while, shall we?
Nostalgia, I think your name is Manchester today.
When the rain falls
They talk of Manchester
But when the triumphant rain falls
We think of rainbows
That’s the Mancunian Way
– Lemn Sissay
Now the only question that remains is this – how long will it take to book a ticket and return to Manchester?