The Bus kept going, into the distance. The airport run, a mixture of expectation and resignation on the coming and the going.
I sat in the coffee shop wondering whether I would ever get to go. The grand plans, the hopes of leaving behind the strain of a life that was slowly killing me.
I say that and I mean it. Programming is hard work, even in a successful company. The hours drag on, the push for results, the being a parent to five hundred employees that you want to do well. Being a boss and an underling, being on top and below. Shareholders tugging one way, directors tugging the other, the work weighing you down while at home sits a husband I promised to spend the rest of my life with, but my life gets spent on people who have bought me for a day, a week, a project. An intellectual whore.
What goes back to him is the empty carton that I came in. Then his smile tops it up.
I looked at my wedding band and took a breath. Maybe it was because it was Sunday; the day of rest and the prologue to another week, another long six day week of somebody else’s problems.
I imagined a lottery win then, a set of numbers, nothing massive, just enough to go, just enough to disappear. I imagined an alternate universe where I had a backbone, a spine, a sense of risk.
I sipped some more coffee and planned it out. I was Thirty two; I had another three decades if I lived not making much more than inflationary increases in salary. I would never be in charge, I knew that, I wasn’t serious enough, I couldn’t not smile, I always saw the other side and I was not about to stop being human for a rise in salary.
I imagined retirement: colleagues waving me off, a gold watch and a badly drawn portrait to go in the downstairs toilet. The average life expectancy is meant to be a year and a half once you retire. No thanks. I’ll take my chances with the rest of the world.
I imagined the Americans behind me struggling to understand a passage in Galatians were spies discussing espionage, outside the people passing and swirling round each other became dancers in a massive show stopping number. Like a purposeless syncopation of an Olympic opening ceremony.
I imagined life as it could be.
Tigers that prowled along the high street, monkeys with German accents swinging from the tapestries in the museum and music halls, a being of pure light who stops clocks on a whim to allow you to live one moment forever.
Only a dream of really being with the man I married.