We have to talk. I’m not going to dress it up in fine words, you need to know the truth. It’s over. We had a few good times down the years but not nearly enough to change my mind on this matter.

They say that your first love leaves a mark on you that can never be erased, and it’s true. Your timeless gothic beauty can still take my breath away on a daffodil crisp spring day. My friends have seen your picture and some of them think I’m crazy but they don’t know you like I do. Too many ghosts, too many remembrances of knuckle chewing embarrassment from my in between years.

For a while my visits home, and I still called you by that name then, were so eagerly awaited that I would jump from the train into your arms, but it was not to last. People move on. For every evening of sparkling wine and reminiscence there were three spent drinking alone in a familiar place devoid of the very things that used to make it special. Hour after hour, sat in the old haunts, waiting for a companion that was never coming. Well you’ve stood me up for the last time, my pretty. Such is the nature of long distance relationships, I suppose.

I know, I went away. I could not expect things to have stayed the same in my absence. After years of flirting with posh totty in the stockbroker belt I saw through its shallowness. I bet you were thinking I’d come running back, but I had changed and so had you. We want different things now.

I have, after all this time, found the place I was always meant to be. In a tired old street, in a tired old neighbourhood, where soft furnishings decompose in the street and every dog is a pit-bull. But it is home, and I am warm here, in a way that I never was in the North, even viewed through the rosy lenses of nostalgia. You will be fine, you have many people who love you, and you have shown by your actions that you no longer have any need of me, so let’s let it go. Goodbye, Eboracvm mon ami, and thanks for memories.

No longer yours,

Barry Fentiman


About the author:

Barry Fentiman Hall (BFH) is a writer based in the Medway region of Kent. He is primarily a poet of place. He has been published in several journals such as Anti-Heroin Chic, I Am Not A Silent Poet, and shortly Crack The Spine. His debut solo collection The Unbearable Sheerness Of Being was published by Wordsmithery in 2015. He is also the host of Roundabout Nights, Chatham’s oldest regular live lit night. He is a big fan of owls. Not to mention cats. And on a good day hares.