Her name was Amelia.
On an insomniac’s noon, a sullen Sunday when the sun couldn’t decide if it should ascend over the dripping wet rooftops or go back to sleep, the city was a sluggish creature, reluctantly wandering forward with no idea where it was headed or where it was coming from. We sat on her balcony smoking – I had started smoking, even though I knew I shouldn’t have – and she pointed out an older couple stepping into a car.
“How long do you think they have been together?”
“Hard to say. Twenty years?”
“Imagine that” she said shaking her head. “That’s longer than either of us has lived. How do you find enough things to talk about to spend such a long time with one single person?”
“Maybe you don’t?”
“Maybe you don’t. Isn’t that sad.”
“I guess it just is what it is.”
“I’m not going to end up like that. I’m going to live a different kind of life. I’ll start by moving to Paris.”
“I’ve heard it’s crowded and dirty.”
“Probably depends on where you live.”
She threw the rest of her cigarette into the wind. The ashes spiraled, a ballet of tiny particles on the turbulent currents, and Amelia sat there, naïve and perfect; prepared to conquer the entire world alone.