Things I Didn’t Know I Loved – By @chlo_gray

Things I Didn’t Know I Loved

I read a beautiful poem today called Things I Didn’t Know I Loved. It was written in 1962 by a Turkish poet called Nâzım Hikmet. You can read it here. I could write a whole SCAB about what an interesting life he lived, but other websites already have that well covered. Instead, I wanted to write a response to his poem, because it inspired me to think about all of the things I didn’t know I loved, that I took for granted when I had no reason to believe they wouldn’t be around much longer.

So, here are things that I, Chloë Gray, didn’t know I loved:

Of course I knew I loved Dean, my ridiculous beanpole of a housemate, but I didn’t know I loved his annoying habits. My bedroom door being thrown open in the middle of the night to be serenaded with a made-up song, waiting 90 minutes for him to finish showering, waking early on a Sunday to the sound of him yelling down the phone to Australia, more than loud enough to not require the phone.
Now he’s back in Australia and empty bathrooms and weekend lie-ins are no consolation.

The baby girl in the buggy on the bus who giggles at the faces I make. I always say I don’t like kids but this one is the exception. I would only see her on the 432 that got me to school ten minutes late, so I’d make sure to be late at least once a week.

The man burning incense at the table outside the station. It was the one good aroma in Brixton, and I always meant to stop and buy a box. Now I can’t quite remember what it smells like. 

Dodging the many men in blue coats who wanted money to end knife crime. Dragging Scarlet away when she got reeled in by one of them. (I absolutely want to end knife crime, but can’t donate every day.) I didn’t know I loved that daily assault course.

The preachers and beggars and street sellers whose combined noise formed the chorus of Brixton. How I miss their music.

My shoulders aching from carrying my backpack, heavy from the weight of my laptop and a hundred things I never needed. I didn’t know I loved getting to move between places, separate buildings for work and rest and play.

The morning music that beckoned us down to town hall. Trying to figure out the meaning of the song Marc was playing before he told us. Singing along if it was a good one. Singing along if it wasn’t.

Amy appearing at my desk to tell me I’d missed a SCAB.

Gossiping for too long in the kitchen.

Throwing tennis balls around the studio.

Flirting with the people at Pop Brixton to get food discounts.

Stepping around the rubbish left on Electric Avenue in the evening after they packed up the market stalls. The chaos of other people.

Being bumped into at concerts and on the underground. 

Dancing in sweaty clubs until sunrise. 

Drinking too much on Fridays. I didn’t know I loved £6 pints of Red Stripe served in plastic glasses, but I’d pay triple that now to stand around a table with my friends.

I didn’t know I loved the everyday mundanities.

But now I do, and I won’t forget again.

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