I had this fantasy, when I was a teenager. There was an attic. Maybe a Parisian one. Sometimes Scandinavian -those houses by the canals, those colorful houses with lots of windows and light and the smell of the sea.
There was a boy. He had beautiful eyes the colour of the sea and sometimes they would turn a little more green and I used to get lost in them. He played the most beautiful symphonies, and I used to get lost in those, too.
One night when we were 16 we all went to hear him play and he was on stage right there in front of me, and I was so entranced and I was so sure he was looking directly at me, me only. I kept poking my best friend in the arm and telling her, look, he’s playing for me, I know it. This is it, he finally saw me.
It turned out that I wasn’t wearing contacts, I couldn’t see a thing, and he didn’t even know we were there.
That’s probably a metaphor for something.
I had this fantasy. One day, he would realise he was madly in love with me and we’d move to Paris and live in a dimly lit attic and he’d play Saint-Saens and I’d look down and out of the window at people passing by and they would look up and smile because we’d be so happy.
We’d be the kind of couple that stays up all night to bake cookies and dances in the rain. The kind of couple with a living room painted red and fairy lights by the window. I can still see it all now, I can almost touch it. I hadn’t thought about it in years but I haven’t forgotten.
Then I heard a song today, and something in my chest started aching. I perched myself up to sit on the window sill and looked out to a silent, rainy London and I realised… this is my attic.
It’s a white house and there’s no sea but there’s red lights blinking in the distance and I can sit on the bed and hug my knees and look down and maybe I got my fantasy.
There’s no guy, and there’s no Saint-Saens.
But there’s me staying up to write and drinking cheap wine, and sometimes I buy myself cookies just because I feel like it and I think maybe that counts. I dance by myself at 3 AM and I sing in the rain a lot. I still do that sometimes, and isn’t that amazing?
I can play songs for myself and I can paint the living room red and I can put fairy lights by the window simply because I want to. It’s different and it’s messy and it’s confusing, and it’s nothing like I thought it would be at 17 but it’s alright because I have time to make it all better.
This is my fantasy, if I want it. If I take it for what it is, and look at the bigger picture instead of trying to get the details right, this can be it.
This can make me happy, this has already made me happy, and I’m so scared of something going wrong that I almost don’t want to get lost in it. I almost don’t want to believe it. So I block it out, and I pretend there’s something missing.
I tell myself I didn’t get what I wanted because my blue-eyed-guy isn’t here to play for me and I’m 5 pounds heavier than I was at seventeen and I’m a bit of a mess at being an adult, but I’m not. I haven’t fucked up as much as I think I have, and I refuse to be too scared to see that I got exactly what I’ve always wished for. I’m gonna call it what it is, which is happiness.
And I was so focused on a dream life I’d thought up when I was a teenager that I almost didn’t realise how much happier real life, older me is without it. And oh, isn’t that ironic.
Maybe that’s a metaphor for something, too.