Swooshing isn’t just for trains. The black cab swooshes away from Waterloo station. Our lives fit neatly into the uniquely-British, taxi-passenger compartment. My Man fiddles with his pocket and some newly acquired coinage, secured at the station in an exchange of a pound note for a soft drink. I look out the window at the river. I assume the bridge is Waterloo bridge. It isn’t. Years later I’ll know it is Westminster bridge that the cabbie has taken to cross the Thames, to loop around the square that sits in front of the Houses of Parliament and the side of Westminster abbey, to head up Whitehall. I see a street sign. Charring Cross. I look out the taxi cab window at bookshops. I recall that there is an association between Charring Cross and bookshops. I do not recall the why behind the association or the where I might have learnt this tidbit. The bookshops look faded and dingy. Just like London. Even though London hasn’t been my first choice, excitement titters within. I have a hard time maintaining my composure. I think the bookshops must be full of Charles Dickens. Precious treasures hidden beneath reams of trash. We’ve not turned. Not right. Not left. But the street sign has changed. Tottenham Court Road. We’re close! We’re close! We’re close! The hotel is here somewhere. I’ve not made the arrangements, but I’ve paid enough attention to remember our hotel – a Radission – is on Tottenham Court Road. I crane my neck to look for a sign. The taxi comes to a stop before I can make out the hotel. It blends right in. The dread of heavy lifting returns. We now need to transport our lives from the back of the taxi to one of the hotel rooms above. At least My Man’s pockets are now full of change.*
* With the quantity and weight of the bags, I believe tipping was entirely appropriate in this instance.