London, A Love Letter

A short story based on Lucian Freud's Two Irishmen in W11 (1984)

Photo by Aniela Rybak

Dear London,

I love you. We’ve been through a lot together. You brought me both happiness and sadness. I have never known anyone as inspiring as you. Our relationship started with my first visit at the age of 9 when, as my Mom likes to point out, I claimed that you were the only city I could imagine myself living in. Where did my fascination come from? Was it because you are so different from Warsaw, my hometown? Was it the intensive pace of life? I’m not sure, the only thing I remember is the determination to come back.

Before making the decision to move, I visited you numerous times. Both as part of organized school and family trips, as well as alone. Before and after a heartbreak. Before choosing my university and during preparations for studying Art History. With an expectation of living completely alone or with somebody else. Learning English and speaking the language fluently. Thinking I have my whole life figured out, just to come back after a couple of months seeking a fresh start.