learning to love melbourne
It took me six months to become accustomed to Melbourne. To feel comfortable and not foreign. To not wander the streets weaving in-between people with muttered apologies. To not notice that every living thing in Melbourne moved faster than I did.
I got used to the weather, the sudden changes, the bitter cold, the lack of sun in winter and the endless rain in spring. I got used to the people who seemed to want nothing to do with me, their backs always turned in my direction.
Somehow Melbourne grew under my skin. It became my home. It was suddenly more my home than anywhere I had ever been and stepping onto trams and learning to always bring a jacket or an umbrella became comforting. I embraced the cold, I enjoyed the layers, the strange fashion, the cafés and bars spilling onto the street. Eventually I couldn’t imagine living anywhere else.
Melbourne swallowed me whole and I showed no resistance. I let it envelope me along with everyone else. Waves of people, thousands of souls, different hair colours, outfits, smells. Walking the streets and never going to one place or in one direction; just letting the wave carry me. Walking down alleyways, the sun in my eyes, following the person in front of me until they’re replaced with another. The buildings blocking the suns glare long enough to see my path and then an explosion of light filling my vision.
People don’t stay still in Melbourne. They stand on corners dancing with their cigarette. Business suits walk beside green stockings and red hair, face piercings and tattoos. Trams rattle and shake down the road, pedestrians weave in and out of traffic, dodge trams, hail trams, jump off trams. Birds peck at crumbs of food at our feet, forever bopping their heads. Tables and bikes and dogs take up the footpath. The conversation of a thousand strangers like a thousand radio stations all playing at once. It makes my heart race.
It would seem from a distance we all had some purpose, that we were walking to get somewhere. But like me, people are caught in the wave, in the noise, in the sun; following, watching, listening. The streets have a pulse and we are the blood running through it. People are the life force that bring the streets alive so that Melbourne is not just a city but an entity demanding blood, demanding bodies, demanding life.
(Image credit: 1.)
By Jas Shenstone