I have a latte instead of dinner tonight. I can barely afford any more calories but I long for a warm, comforting feeling to soothe me. I need something to fill me up and take me away from the never ending winter that eats away at my frost-ravaged soul. I need a reminder of home, of days gone by, of knowing where I belong even though I am not there.
I cannot stay here much longer. I checked out long ago. Now I am just biding time until I return home at long, long (so very long) last. I drive aimlessly into the desolate, snow-white night and turn the music up to drown my tears. I have been waiting lifetimes to go back.
The jazz transports me to sultry, summer nights far away from this place. They are burned into my heart, etched into my memory until the end of time. I am 17, I am 21, I am eternally there; young, in love and loved like never before. In a hotel lounge where the love of my life sits opposite me, cocktails flow and sweetness is imbibed in unending quantities. Laughter tinkles like the ivories of the baby grand serenading us. We are sun-bronzed and drunk with passion. We are giddy with life, like only the young now how to be. We glide across marble floors, under chandeliers and into each others’ eyes.
I have never known such happiness: not before this moment and not since. We walk out into the fairy lights, hand in hand. African stars are splattered across a midnight-blue-silk sky. Frangipani scents the warm, languid air. The palm trees are silhouetted against the night when I lost my heart forever. The band plays on… the barman refreshes our drinks and I am drowning in the bliss of his nearness, his smile, his cheek against my cheek. We are star-gazing together; imagining all the years together that we didn’t know then would not come to be. We are dreaming, hopeless dreamers that we were, without thought for anything other than this moment that would live on to haunt my homesick heart. We talk of growing old together, of children and memories we have not yet made not knowing that we never would until it was too late. We sit wrapped in each others’ arms and the jazz permeates our souls where we are entwined, always, immovable, in love.