It begins with a warm day in the dead of winter. I leave my coat unbuttoned on my way to work and turn to a playlist on my ipod that has been neglected for months. My posture is automatically straighter, leaner. My toes grip the bottom of my shoes like the cliffs they long to jump off of. When I blink I am in another world, staring down the distance between myself and the clear water.
Just leap, a voice says. I survey the rocks at the bottom, the risk of landing wrong.
The air tastes like sunscreen and sand. If I close my fist tight enough I might find her’s there, entwined with mine. We never jumped alone.
If the ice could melt and the snow fade. If the clouds parted and the sun warmed me like this every day. Maybe I wouldn’t need to go. But, it’s January. The winter isn’t through with me yet. My skin itches underneath the layers I thought were necessary. The money I wish I had burns my back pocket raw. The places I still need to go, all the people I have yet to meet.
Experiences wait to meet me on the other side of today, in all the tomorrows I have lined up begging to be tried on.
Today life feels tight, pinching me in all the wrong places. I long to kick it off, go barefoot. My suitcase whispers promises from my closet. Pack me, it says. Only the bare essentials and maybe that dress that hugs you in all the right places, that rides up your thighs when you lean close, cheeks burning from the wine. Bring that, too.
I am lost in blueberry-flavoured fantasies while I ponder why it doesn’t taste as sweet. I never took sugar in my tea, before. The coffee shops are too familiar. The streets all know my name. The soles of my boots grow restless, dreaming of pavements still untrampled in the wide corners of the continent. The miles I have yet to log.
The water, the desert, the mountains. The destinations that tug at my clothes, raise hairs at the back of my neck, leave me flushed and aching.
Patience, I remind myself as I clock in at work.
Patience, I promise the worn maps on my desk.
Patience, I whisper to my passport, neglected and filed away.
Patience, I tell my heart when it beats irregularly, when I miss a step and fall out of time.
Maybe, I don’t need to go just yet. Maybe, the world can wait a little while longer.
‘Cause, maybe, just maybe, staying put might be the next great adventure.
Yeasayer – One