Dear Paisley

In writing to you in this way, I already feel that I want to reflect on why I have perhaps not addressed you in this way before. Perhaps because I have always just taken your presence for granted? Perhaps I have always just assumed your constancy, love and support just was? Or maybe I have always assumed we were one in the same being, unsure of where you end and I begin?
I think I can truly say that, although to my shame I have sometimes colluded with others’ criticism of you, you have always been the one constant through so far a long and interesting journey through life. When I moved to Liverpool for some years, I yearned for you, for the most simple, everyday parts of you, although sometimes when I returned, I rebelled against you and the pull you had on me, because the constancy of you had become somewhat mundane and un-challenging. After three years in Liverpool however, when decision-time came, I chose the fork in the road that led back to you, because although your constancy at times could be frustrating, it had woven itself so much into me I couldn’t surrender it, and didn’t want to. I haven’t regretted my decision to return to you since then, and feel nurtured and at peace in your care and shelter.
I remember as a young girl lying in bed at night, and waiting to hear your town hall bell toll on the hour, signalling the end of the day, and heralding the excitement of another arriving soon. Sometimes I still catch myself straining my ears to hear your bell in the darkness of night, but the distance between home and your bell has now stretched, and my ears can’t pick it up. I can still hear it though, if I tune in hard enough, in the same way that I can hear the puffing of the little steam train in your Barshaw Park, which I rode on merrily as a child, on many a sunny summer’s afternoon. I suppose where the heart is willing, it does not matter how far geographically away you are, you are still with me wherever I go.
We seem to have grown together through the years. At first, both somewhat wild, passionate and rough around the edges, but now, calmer, more collected and focussed. It just occurred to me, is there a parallel process of frustration for us both? Paisley, for so long, “the biggest town in Scotland” which “should’ve been granted a city”, but wasn’t, and me, in my sense of frustration at what you had to offer, and who you are.
It seems though that we have both reclined comfortably into our skin, and accepted who we and one-another are. Are you a friend, a mother, a sister, or are you just part of me and I of you? The latter, I suspect.
Best wishes
Julia