It’s been slowly gnawing at me. That movie I saw last week. Then yesterday that article I read. The red stained face of my co-worker when the third year anniversary of her boyfriend’s death came and went. So many are being torn away from family by disease and leaving in their wake only heartbreak.
I wonder what it says about me, the way I would choose to spend my last day. I planned it from the morning to the end what I would do. Then I’ve sat there and thought. Why are some people so glaringly missing? Why did I choose that place over the other? What memories am I conjuring up hoping to relive by spending my last moments in these ways?
I’ve made some assumptions on my last day. One that it would be a gloriously hot summer day. Two that I would be healthy enough to do any physical activity I wanted without hesitation.
My day would be in Chicago. I smile, just writing it. The Chicago sized hole in my heart. My home. Even after living here eight years, it’s still not home. It will never be home. There is no place else I’d rather relive my favorite memories.
I would start the day at Walker Brothers. Where I used to host/cashier for years. We would order family style: Sizzling bacon, chocolate chippies with big globs of whipped cream, an apple pancake, the German pancake with extra lemon and powdered sugar, the challah French toast. My nose awakens recalling the scents, my mouth waters remembering.
Then we’d head to the beach. We’d build sandcastles and I would hope the Art Teacher wouldn’t accidentally pull down my bathing suit and then tackle me to the sand. We would frolic in the water playing chicken fight and 500.
For lunch we would go to my favorite restaurant, Tapas Barcelona, and order my favorite things. The mussels dipped in glorious melted butter. The snails perched atop of a fluffy piece of bread soaked in sauce. Pitchers of margaritas and sangria would flow. For dessert I would delight in my pistachio banana and ice cream.
We would go to the park next. Play ultimate Frisbee. Perhaps sit in a circle and play Mafia. Then when properly worn out we’d go bowling. They would make it cosmic, even though it was still relatively early in the day. For dinner we would dress up and drive down Lake Shore Drive. The music blasting, the summer breeze blowing through the slightly cracked open windows. I would press my forehead against the window and stare at the city ablaze in lights just like I did all those years ago.
We’d have dinner at the most expensive steak restaurant in town, order the best wine they had. We would laugh and talk about all the greatest times. All the best times. We would not talk about what I would miss; we would only recall what I had.
We would go to Navy Pier and ride the ferris wheel. I would keep my eyes open the entire time. Clutching the hand of who ever sat next to me.
Then with the wine still buzzing in our heads we would go out and play in the sprinklers at Northwestern just like we did that one glorious summer. We would run through the fields wet, muddy, the laughter burning our lungs. Then we would strip off our muddy garments and jump into the cooling waters of Lake Michigan.
Afterwards we would go out dancing. The room swirling, the beat pounding in my chest. We would dance and dance and dance until our feet gave out. Until the bars closed at 5am.
Then I would go home. I would get in my bed. With my dogs, my children, my husband and I would fall asleep with a smile on my face, and I wouldn’t need to wake up again because I had lived.
Written as a part of Just Write.