The Stone Island soldier’s watch over the entrance to my 15 story tower. Their badges are worn proudly on their sleeves and on the front of their knitted hats like medals of honour seen on soldier’s chests upon their return from the front line. The boys parade their golden logos across the manor. My guardsmen wear the finest crisp marl grey Nike uniforms and perfect trainers. Hybrid 95s in neon green and grey can be seen even from my height on the 8th floor. Their hair is trimmed regularly, their perfume of skunk and lynx is one of nostalgia and comfort. I pass the boys at ease and know I’m safe.
I meet Iris in the lift on the way to the 8th where we’ll say our goodbyes for now and I get out. Iris talks in a thick cockney accent and calls me darlin’ the way Peggy called Grant darlin’ when he was alive.
Her face is downy with halo hairs protecting her from the cold. I admire the gold rings on each of her fingers and notice the brown freckles on the tops of her hands that show her age. You’ll find her on occasion, polishing the stairwells with a pink feather duster and a baby blue pinny. On her feet Iris wears white reebok freestyles, the low trainers not the Velcro high tops. Like the central line beneath us the wind races through my block.
When warm on the 8th I head to the balcony and watch the boys below as they jam on the wall and circle on bikes with phones always in hand, always on duty. I wish I could ride my bike no hands like the stoney soldiers do. I practice.
I look out to my right and see my blocks identical twin adorned with England flags. Later I’ll look out to the sea of lights, I can see the sea we’d shout as kids, first one wins. I win. I can see everything up here. London, London, I’m in love.
I stand tall in the tower with 5 others surrounding me, Like my three sisters my parents and me in the middle. I’m safe.
I hear Beety from no.38 barking, pure white bull terrier my favourite breed. One day I’ll have my own, Bulla will be the name of my pedigree chum. I cannot wait to meet her.
We’re so lucky.