A Day Alone in a New City

I know I’ve not written in ages, but I’ve been very, very busy with moving to Brighton. I’m hopefully going to get more of a chance to write, I’ve got so many drafts saved at the moment. I’d like to do something on leaving home, maybe, or fresher’s week? I’m not sure. Uni will be strange.

Anyway, for now, here’s a piece of creative writing, inspired by my first day alone in my new flat.


New places usually left her with a night’s sleep which was wanting more, but she awoke surprisingly refreshed, and proceeded to try and figure out the shower. The bathroom was still a bit grimy. She remembered that she was going to try and get the soap scum off the bottom, but forgot in favour of getting a bit pissed instead. It wasn’t a decision she regretted; the alcohol-induced wooziness was probably what made her sleep okay in the first place.

The water came out cold, as was usually characteristic of unfamiliar showers. They were a mystery akin to the Enigma codes. Or, at least, that’s how it felt, standing naked in the bathroom, desperately trying to figure out why, no matter which way you turned it, the water still came out at arctic temperatures. Eventually, she realised that the previous tenant had probably knocked off the knob at some time or another, and had managed to put it back upside-down. Cold meant hot. She’d have to remember that.

And, God, the neighbours were loud. She wasn’t sure if the door upstairs slamming was someone going in or out, but she could still hear his voice. He sounded very self-assured, to say the least.

She strolled through the underpass beneath the station, nearly tripping over a small child who’d stopped suddenly in the middle of the pavement to try  and catch a Pokémon. Coming up from the other side was a family with suitcases, so she climbed the step of the shop beside her to skirt around the congestion. People-Dodging really needed a companion. The subsequent complaining made it more fun. She shrugged, and tried to navigate the twists and turns in the Lanes. To be specific, that was which ones had cars going down them, and which ones didn’t. It was odd, really. The roads were open to traffic, evidently because it was a weekday, but it didn’t seem any less busy than the Sunday before, when pedestrians could stroll freely, without fear of some wanker in a BMW about to run them down.

You could quickly see who were tourists and who lived here all year round. The resident Brightonians, the ones who fitted the vibe, were the alternative crowd, minding their own business as they weaved around the holidaying families with surly, tracksuit-clad teenagers who sneered at them. As she passed, they sneered at her, too. She wasn’t sure if she should feel self-conscious or proud. They thought she was one of them. She fitted in here, after arriving from a place where she so often stood out like a sore thumb.

Pride aside, the Lanes seemed to have lost their charm in the peak season. She wistfully recalled trips with her boyfriend in the spring months. Colder, yes, but the character was there. The shopkeepers were calmer, happier, more relaxed. She looked forward to those months again, silently punishing herself for doing so.

You were a tourist, too, barely a week ago.

Guilty though she felt, the part of her which could quote BN1 as her postcode provoked her onwards. Get what you need, then you can go home.

The roads still scared her when she was alone. Brave, experienced shoppers charged through as the buses pulled around corners at alarmingly high speeds. Best to wait for the green, now make a run for the mall itself. Churchill Square is always crowded. She fought her way through the hoards of schoolchildren, staring wistfully at clothes their pocket money wouldn’t stretch to. She remembered those days, and then she yearned for her old job, back home. Home? Climbing the stairs of Urban Outfitters, they walked in rows of 5, silent and sullen. She edged around them and ran for the homeware shops. Too much effort. All she’d wanted was a toothbrush holder, anyway.

Arriving home, after pushing through more crowds, all she wanted was a cold drink. Typically, her family, before leaving the night before, had finished all the apple juice, and she really didn’t have the energy to go back out again. All that was left was wine. She shrugged. She was alone. Her house, her rules, and while wine at 4pm wasn’t a rule, it wasn’t frowned upon, either.

Taking a sip of delicious Sauvignon, she smiled.



Published by

Zara Robinson

Twenty-year-old trainee teacher, hippie and weird jewellery collector living in Brighton.

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