The rosemary.

You know how it is. You know how it goes.

The lights. Not very pleasing, could be less harsh, but pleasant enough. They look better near the bar but that's not the reason people are standing there.

Familiar faces.

"Hi, hello. How's college? Fine. How's yours? Good. Do you like Delhi? I do now." An awkward pause and a forced smile. "It was lovely seeing you. You too. Keep in touch. Yeah."

Things get a bit better after a while because everyone's still at the bar and now most people are talking in capitals. The conversation is smoother. Or maybe it's because the hellos have been done with and now people are talking to the people they want to talk to. Shared inkblots?

It's strange being back. It's night, and you're not used to being here at night. You're used to the not-really-imposing white building being exposed to hot sun and you're used to the fields being peppered with girls - hair escaping despite the forty clips and the forced, false discipline - not with twenty and thirty something year olds, wandering around in ties and jackets and painted with red lipstick.

It's strange smoking a cigarette in the very same place you, not too long ago, leaped across in exchange for a certificate that has long been lost.

The night goes on, and most people look happy now. The conversation, predictably, shifts to remembrance. A surprising amount of people remember. You thought you'd forgotten but there you are, standing with them, clutching a sprig of rosemary in your fist. It doesn't really make a difference though. Things once were and now they aren't and that's all there is to it.

"I miss it," someone tells you.


"Things aren't the same anymore."

That's the point, you think. Things aren't supposed to be the same anymore, things are supposed to be different. But you don't say anything, you just tilt your head slightly and tighten your grip on the rosemary.

Stumbling out at midnight. Stumbling home. Stumbling. The rosemary falls somewhere along the way, unnoticed and forgotten, until next time.

Did you ever stumble when you were inside those gates? Difficult to tell, difficult to know, but either way, you're happier on the street.

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