The last food I would eat on this Earth was packed into one of the few Tupperware containers that I hadn’t lost. It was the spaghetti that was not eaten at last night’s dinner, a slice of wheat bread and cucumber slices. That about sums up my luck; my last meal as a human was cold leftovers.
I realized I’d forgotten to pack a fork and started picking up noodles with pieces of bread. Two bites in and I was telling myself that I would start my diet tomorrow, for sure this time. Along with a fork, I had forgotten to pack a napkin so I wiped my mouth on the inside of my scrub top thinking, this is why I’m single. But I knew that wasn’t why I was single. I hadn’t been with anyone since Tom because I was scared not because I occasionally forgot my manners.
The spaghetti did nothing for my hunger and I turned to the cucumber. Suddenly, I wished I’d packed a few of the girls’ cookies or a soda. The need for sugar was overwhelming but the cucumbers would have to do. I would not slip into my forties with love handles and no one to love them.
Beethoven faded away into the night and Holst took over. A French horn played a few notes that feel like longing for something lost. I recognized the piece. It was one of the planets. The knowledge of which planet was somewhere in my brain but it couldn’t be accessed on command anymore. Come on, brain, high school band. We went to the Kennedy Center to hear this performed. Kate, you know this.
“Venus,” I shouted to the air then realized no was there to hear my genius. Oh well, I knew that I got it right and could be proud. I rewarded myself with another cucumber and laid my head to rest on the back of the bench. The iron was cold but its solid strength felt like it would hold be all night if I wanted. A violin took up the lead. The music made me think of a time when I was full of passion and every moment of life was an experience to be treasured. I started to feel grief for the girl that I used to be; the girl who felt her future was full of the kind of love that made violins play in your head.
It was hard to believe the stress of my job was only steps away. The bench seemed miles apart from the ringing of call bells. My heartbeat started to match the pace of the movement and swelled with every instrument in the orchestra. The air around me was clear and cool. I was lost in the music. Too lost to hear the snapping of a stick behind me.
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