Another Year by Linda LaRoche
My birthday falls in October and every year I think about what if it were my last and what I would do. Would it seem like much ado about nothing. Or would I take on the stance that there was no need to fuss. Would I shrug it off as an insignificant year in case anyone slept through it. Stirring honey into my black tea, in the dining room, I contemplated timing and pondered over what to do with my upcoming special day.
We humans get so many special days. The first day of spring. The last day of school. Christmas day and New Year’s Day. Sundays. Holidays and leap days and lazy summer days. Happy and sad days. Days we remember, days we waste, days we choose, or not, to forget.
Any random day of these, we spend in random ways. Making coffee, making eggs. Making appointments, making lists. Making points, making excuses. Making time, compromises, sacrifices. Meanwhile, any random one of these, mayflies spend making love.
How different our lives would be, if we spent them like they do, in only one day. Not a last, or first, or birth or holiday. Not a happy, or sad, or particularly particular day. One random, good day.
If I were to live my life in a day, I would wake up early, on a rooftop overlooking a Mediterranean beach. In my head, there would be an accordion tune.
I would dust the sand out of my hair, the morning sun out of my eyes. I would pack a small bag with an evening gown and high heels and head into the still quiet city, to catch the morning train. In the station, some bread for the pigeons, some coins for the struggling artist, a small but rich coffee for me.
On the platform, I’d be given two first class tickets, and someone to travel with. Someone who must laugh often, must be kind, protective and a good kisser. A seat by the window, some music to share. Just in time before the flag and the whistle.
We would sit back with our coffee and croissants and watch the waking city clatter by. On a random day, in, a random train.
We would go to Europe. A flânerie in Paris and some chocolates in Bruges. Vermeer in The Hague and Van Gogh in Amsterdam. Or perhaps to Italy, for a carnival in Venice and the galleries in Florence. Shopping in Milan, in Rome, a slice of pizza. Or to Eastern Europe, for concerts and cakes. The thermal baths of Budapest, the beautiful blue Danube. Communist architecture in Bratislava. I would change into my formal attire to take in an opera in Vienna. A pause in Ljubljana before the churches of Zagreb. I would head up to Scandinavian funiculars and fjords or stay warm in the south with paella and a glass of Port.
I would stare out the window. Watching the cities, countryside, platforms, and people unfold. Humming, reading, writing, daydreaming, kissing, drawing maps.
And when the day ends, we would get off the train, in some charming little town whose name I do not know. Having soaked in all the sunshine, tossed my last crumbs to the birds, sung along to every song and written every poem I know and would walk to the finest Hotel, where I would take a luxurious bath and nestle under a wonderful duvet and float off to sleep.