Last week I’ve started telling you a short story about Alicia, a woman going through some changes in her dull life. You can read part one here: A Simple Life – part 1.
So, today, I’ll just go on with the story…
We are somehow drawn to our own problems and concerns and we do not want anyone else to share them with, we always think we can find the best solutions on our own, but is it really true, I wonder?!?
As I look around the bus I can see an old man, with a very fancy hat, a nice coat and extremely shiny shoes. He is reading a book and he seems extremely fascinated by it. On the seat beside him is a girl with earphones, listening to music and playing on her phone. She wears a very short skirt and has really red lipstick and a weird looking hairdo. Interesting how old and new can look so wrong close to one another. It is like a huge gap between the generations.
I have always liked to picture everyone’s life and I made a lot of fictional stories about people I’ve seen in buses, cars or on the street.
For example, the man with the hat is continuously smiling to people. He seems to be such a warm person, polite and gentle, kind and understanding. I wish I could be like that, although I know I’m not, I turned out to be exactly like my grandmother, extremely demanding and bossy. I once received a book about Hitler’s life from one of my employees. They all knew I loved history, so they thought it would be a good surprise. But what did I think: Do they consider me to be some kind of a Nazi or a very cruel leader? Why did they buy me that book?
These are the kind of ideas and thoughts that pop into my head and I can’t stop them, no matter what I do. My brain is working 24/7 or even longer, it never shuts down.
Although I have such a boring life on the outside, my inside is burning with desire for adventure and mystery. I just never had the courage to step up and do more. I got stuck into work and that is all I have known. I don’t even remember when I had my last relationship or why did it end.
The bus gets to the final stop and here is where I get off. At work everyone is looking for coffee, some of the staff are still sleepy, but they are all on time and I really admire that about them; although I know they are doing it because otherwise I might scream or react really badly. I don’t recall being evil with any of them, but they are just afraid in a way I don’t fully understand.
I get to my desk and write this e-mail:
I am writing to let you know that I’m taking a day off tomorrow. All your duties should be reported to me by the end of the day and I expect full commitment and attention to all the projects we have.
The moment I hit send I hear a lot of murmur and I can actually see a lot of them just staring at me. My personal assistant comes and asks me if I’m ok and if I need help or anything. It is crazy; after such a long time, taking a day off creates such unnecessary reactions that it almost makes me feel guilty that I even planned this.
Hours pass, I get sucked into work and I don’t even realize when everyone is gone at five o’clock. I still have some work to finish, so I’ll probably spend some more time in the office. At about seven, my assistant asks me if she can go home and I tell her it’s ok. She wishes me to have a nice day tomorrow and enjoy whatever I have planned.
I smile and nod.
The irony of being a boss is that you always end up working extra hours and you always have more concerns than anyone else on the planet. The stress never ends.
Finally at nine p.m. I decide to leave the office. My head is spinning, my neck feels sour and I can’t really feel my knees. I have been sitting on my chair for far too long and every inch of my body hurts. The only smell I can remember is the one of freshly printed paper and the one coming from the pens I use to sign contracts or make notes.
I decide to go out for a drink instead of heading home. I might actually sleep late tomorrow, because I’m off, so I can enjoy the night a bit. A glass of Champaign would be great and I know that a nice dinner would make me feel better.
I go to a fancy restaurant close to my apartment and I’m greeted by the hostess and she asks me:
‘Would you like a table for two?’ That annoys me a bit, but I say I will just dine alone tonight. She smiles, as if she feels sorry for me and she leads me to a very private table. There are two chairs anyway, because everyone assumes that you have to have a date if you want to have dinner in town. Well, guess what, I am alone and I have been like that for quite some time; of course I avoided going out, exactly because I didn’t want people to stare or talk about “the poor lady that eats alone”.
I order some steak with potatoes and vegetables and a glass of red wine. I haven’t had a proper meal in ages. Chinese take-out and Italian food have been my best friends ever since I started my business. Having a lot of money and being your own boss really screws up your life in a way you can’t even imagine. I am glad I took this break, because I really needed to feel how real life is, the one outside the office doors.
I enjoy every bite of my food, they are perfectly cooked and my tongue is filled with all the aroma and spices, I just love the feeling. The smell makes me remember good old Sunday dinners with my family and I get a very warm feeling of home and comfort.
I finish, pay and head out of the restaurant. Just a few blocks away my other prison awaits. I decide to walk home and smell the fresh air. It starts to rain very softly and instead of running I just slowly slide and let the cold rain touch my face, wet my hair and my clothes. I used to love the rain. I would always prefer a rainy day, because I could sit on my dad’s armchair and read. I would devour books like no one else. Just gliding along romantic novels or historic events, I would be a princess, or a very brave soldier. I used to imagine all sorts of things, but then it all stopped when reality hit me and I had to make a living for myself. No romance or act of bravery could save me right now. Routine has captured me and it won’t let me out of the tower it has put me in.
There was a saying: home is where the heart is. Honestly, I don’t even remember having a heart at this point.
I arrive home, all wet and I head into the shower. Well, instead of having a quick and not really calming shower, I decide to have a long bubble bath. I used to love them. I would stay in the tub until my fingers were all wrinkled and my mom would tell me to get out and go to bed. I turn on the hot water, pour some bubble foam and I let it fill the tub. It’s funny how such small things can change your life. The dinner I had made me feel better and it actually made me realize I miss cooking and having all sorts of smells in the kitchen. Now I just use it for the microwave and for the coffee machine. I might cook something tomorrow, although I’ll have to shop first, because my fridge is empty.
Enough with the thinking, I get undressed, put on some music and get in the bath.
Such a feeling cannot really be described in words. When the warm water touches your cold feet and body, it feels like a warm embrace that comforts your entire being, getting to your bones even. It makes every inch of your skin tremble and it’s just refreshing and soothing. I stretch my body and all my bones crack, I soak my hair in the water and I just feel like I was born again. The difference a really warm bath can do. I try to keep work thoughts away from my head, although sometimes they win.
I start wondering what to do for the next 24 hours. I have exactly 1440 minutes just for myself. It is overwhelming if you think about it that way.
I want to sleep late and try to heal the grey bags underneath my eyes, I want to go into a park and read a bit, or maybe go for a jog. I want to see a movie or travel somewhere close to the city for the day. Oh my God, I also want to visit a museum or an art gallery, and I need to do some shopping and wash my car. See how reality strikes in? I’ll just keep with the things I really need to do; the ones I don’t have time for on a regular day.
It is really true that money can’t buy happiness, but it sure can help you buy a plane ticket to go somewhere for a day. I decide to visit London. I have always wanted to see it but I never got the chance. That’s a plan!
I get out of the tub and turn on my laptop. There is a flight at 7 in the morning and it returns at 8 p.m. Just perfect for my day, although I won’t really have my late morning and the sleep I wished for. Maybe I’ll sleep on the plane…
-To be continued-