I'm no one special, and I'm content about it. But sometimes I wonder... If I just...
| My name is Boston. Boston Friday.
No, I have never been to Boston, and my Fridays are nothing more than a book and a cup of tea, emptied before I even notice that I've reached for it. I'm not special. I live on the fifth floor of a murky apartment building. Even if I have lodged here for more than six years, all that I know about my neighbours is that the old lady next door has two cats. Those animals hate each other.
I work in a small company as an accountant. Every day from eight in the morning to six in the evening, my time is spent calculating money–numbers neatly printed on the paper. I don't have many friends, and my looks are average. If you put me on a street full of people, no one would remember my face. And it is fine.
I have never left this town of mine. Occasionally, I imagine how would it be if one day I just dropped all that I have and went away, as Ms Mitchell did. I would sit at a quaint outdoor café, sipping a drink, chatting to a pretty lady that couldn't find an empty table or, just like Munthe, I would be restoring a grand old chapel in a small island... There probably aren't that many islands with chapels left to be restored, though. But I'm just pondering.
Every evening when I leave work, I pass a man, a few years younger than I am. His hair, dyed green, catches my eye before we step on the white stripes from different ends of the street. Sometimes, when safe from the incoming traffic I stand on the sidewalk, I turn around and watch his hunched back, asking, 'How is your life? Are you happy? Do you know how it feels to be me...?'
He disappears into the crowd, and I imagine the young man meeting his friends, laughing and playing football. Or maybe just chatting until the sky turns ink black. I don't feel envy, but something pangs in my chest. Maybe regret. Don't be mistaken, I'm not unhappy. There are moments I feel at peace, belonging to my life. I love the musty smell of paper that spreads in the air when I turn another page of a book; I love the sound of waking town as I step into the street in the early morning and the warmth of my favourite sweater. Though, I wish it was not grey.
Every time I finish reading a story, I walk to a quiet second-hand bookstore not far from my home. There, surrounded by dust and the muffled sound of people turning pages, I find myself something new.
That was how one evening while I stood by the window, flipping through a novel about a no longer existing man who became a guard of a lighthouse between worlds–'Rough Draft,' Mr Lukyanenko said and erased him–while I stood there, a spot of green flashed by the window. The young man had stopped to look at the store. Silent, he mused if he should enter. Our eyes met, and we stilled. Separated by the thick sheet of glass, we stared at each other, asking the same question – 'do you know...?'
The neon of his hair shone in the sunlight, hurting my eyes. For a second, I wondered why all the people that passed us by didn't turn away, blinded by the boldness of his character. No one did. No one even looked at us. Just a lone dog got dragged off by his unseeing owner when it strained against the leash to sniff the young man's boots. And so, we remained invisible to the world, vigilant in trying to find an answer to that persistent question.
I don't know which one of us moved first. Maybe we did it together; he–by raising his hand to adjust a bag falling from his shoulder, or I–by sneezing and closing my eyes. That split of a second was enough to break the fragile bond, and us–two strangers–moved our separate ways.
When I walked home that evening, and my shoes hit the cobbled stone in a rhythm I've long gotten ignorant of, something happened. I raised my head and looked at the sky that had been dyed vibrant purple. Orange clouds, scattered along the horizon, were torn by a passing plane, and I felt myself soaring along with it, looking down at the little grey town I'd never left. Lips that had been smiling without me even noticing parted, and I heard a wail.
I cried that evening. Hot, salty drops rolled down my cheeks and fell on the ground. I cried. And I felt happy.
Next month, I will book a ticket to visit Boston. This will only be the start.