Where there's a Willesden there's a way

Sunday, April 02, 2006

The Hardest Part

I'm at the bar having a fag with Northern Nurse, talking about life and stuff. Meanwhile, a woman in her forties standing behind me is occasionally indecently assaulting me. Ordinarily this would be a cue to have inappropriate fun, but right now I've got more serious things to deal with. And I'm nowhere near drunk enough.

It's my last day with the Team in Borehamwood, and I've promised myself no speeches, no tears and too much hairgel. All week I've been gradually saying goodbye to people, and all week it's been getting more difficult. Manager presented me with a lovely speech, a kiss and a tardis money box. I can tell Glinty bought that one along with the Muse t-shirt. Who else were they going to ask to choose my present?

But for now it's quite fun. Senior Nurse is high on several glasses of wine, and, as I always expected, great fun. Meanwhile, the social workers are proving a hit on the dancefloor, and someone's made a joke about me having Cocktail Party Syndrome. I'm being handed centuries of experience and advice on how to manage in the new job in Greenborough and for only the third time, feeling very optimistic about it.

Things get more difficult as we start to leave the restaurant. Having just finally realised I'm never coming back, I've had to go to the toilet to compose myself briefly. Glinty is apologising for not doing the same, and I hold her hand and tell her that I know exactly what she's feeling because I'm feeling the same. I can't tell if she believes me.

A drunken discussion continues at Senior Nurse's house at 1.30am, and at exactly 2.35am I'm on the platform at Borehamwood saying my last and hardest goodbyes. Sassy Nurse frets about me travelling home this late, and as the train pulls in I get flashes of the scene in Northern Exposure when Fleischman turns away from Maggie back to New York as the city calls him home. Glinty and I hold on to each other for as long as possible before I open the doors and step onto the train. And as the train pulls away, I turn on The Perfect Song For Leaving. There's three different peoples' tears on my cheek as my train pulls into the tunnel and heads to London at a painfully high speed.

I knew it would be that hard to get to Greenborough. That's maybe why I put it off for so long.


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