A journey to realisation

It was 4am and Sloan lay awake in her bed. She was thinking of Paris. The museums, the monuments, art, culture, food, all that and more, thoughts were streaming past forming a surreal picture. She wanted to be there now. She’d never experienced it and felt that if she didn’t do it soon, it’d be too late. Sloan wanted to travel while she was still young, while her idealism made everything a little more romantic and a little more beautiful.

Her thoughts now shifted to New Zealand. A strong, tattooed face appeared in her mind’s eye. She stared at him, resisting the urge to touch the lines on his face, each one just as mesmerising as the curves of his tattoo. Her eyes changed focus and she saw clearly the beautiful landscape behind him. It was green, and so many different shades of green as far as the eye could see!

Focusing on another spot, she noticed a hairy-coo! She was in Scotland now. She could hear merry tunes on the bagpipes in the background and if she listened a with a little more strain, the rustling of a kilt found its way to her ears.

Something was tugging the bottom of her dress, it was a little Nepalese boy who wanted her to run with him. They ran together like mad children till they reached a beautiful monastery on top of a rambling mountain.

A whiff in air caught her attention, Sloan closed her eyes and let the heady smell of freshly brewed espresso take over her body. Nothing said Italy like coffee other than perhaps, a Ferrari zooming past filled with designer shopping bags. She finished her cuppa and walked spellbound through the streets of Rome. She’d never seen so much architectural beauty in her life, it was mind-boggling .

She looked to the sky to clear her head, tiny snowflakes were finding their way to her. The Swiss alps looked imposingly grand in front of her. Sloan picked some snow off the ground to make a snowball and nearly got hit by a cab!

She swirled and stared, mouth wide open, at Times Square, New York. The neon lights were blinding but the atmosphere and energy around her was unapologetic and ready to take her in. She found herself distracted by a party taking place a little way off.

The music and happiness were as contagious as the big smiles on the people’s faces. For some strange reason, the giant statue of Rio’s Christ looming above their heads just added to the festivity.

The noise was taking over, it was a bit too much but oddly in place as Sloan turned to find herself in the bustling streets of New Delhi. The people, the cows, the wonder, they were all vying for her attention, it was beautiful chaos. Just when she was about to get into a bus to head to Agra, the sound of a trumpet broke through her thoughts.

It was 6am and the alarm clock had decided she needed to get back to reality. She trudged into her bathroom and looked at herself in the mirror. ‘What am I doing?’, she thought. ‘I’m 23 and all I want to do is see the world, experience the world. All I know is what I’ve read about places, I want to know more. I want to know the best cafe in Portree, the most quaint bookshop in Versailles, the smell of the air in Varanasi and other such wonderfully, magically unique things. I want to see them, experience them and then write about them.’ She’d made a decision, she switched off the lights and went back to bed.


Fleeting Romance

They didn’t meet under any extra-ordinary circumstances, their friends introduced them and that was it. She found him fascinating because she’d heard of his excellent taste in music. He was intrigued by her and wanted to hear more of this beautiful voice everyone said she had. They laughed together amongst their group of friends and enjoyed all the revelry. They stole glances at each other when they thought no one else was looking.

When the group started breaking up, he took the chance to sit by her side. He devotedly poured her glasses of wine and she dutifully laughed at all his jokes. The night held them in a picture perfect frame and progressed with the free flow of compliments, wonder and wine on both sides.

Time passed and now the group was down to four people, a young couple in love and our heady romantics. As they walked ahead of their friends, they broke out in an impromptu song, surprising each other with their perfect harmony. He plucked a little flower from a wayside tree, took a dramatic bow and offered it to the lady with a starry-eyed glance. She blushed a deep shade of crimson and obligingly took the flower from him. He felt the softness of her hand as it touched his for the briefest instant while she imagined the tiniest of sparks between their fingers.

Uninhibited by the wine, he took her hand in his and they walked on in silence, our young couple keeping pace behind in a world of their own. A mile in, it was almost dawn and the sun began to show its first light. They’d reached our heroine’s doorway and it was time to say good-bye. The young couple walked on but our hero didn’t let go of his girl’s hand. They stood on her door step, not ready yet for reality, and for the smallest moments, thought about going for that perfect kiss that had been on the back of both their minds. Just then, our boy’s hand slipped and they knew spell was broken. They smiled at each other, embraced their romance away and moved on, each a little less heartbroken than before.