| daydream (feminine noun) | /ʀɛvʀi/

When I am overcome by the scent of stale coffee and the grim, overcast sky, our suffocating reality, and the stagnant view from our kitchen window, I imagine an alternate existence, one in which I am in Japan, on the trip Alex and I had planned for the end of April. We hoped to see the cherry blossoms bloom. When I close my eyes, I am there, inhaling their sweet perfume and wondering at the snow-capped mass of Mount Fuji. I roam the surreal, cyberpunk aesthetics of Tokyo streets and hysterically sip saké in crowded bars. We furiously attempt to decipher the Japanese subway signs, a task not unlike the puzzles we contemplated during the long, listless days spent at our apartment. We succumb to impulse and scurry through the metro doors.

In another April, another May, I am sunbathing along the Seine, sipping lukewarm Burgundy wine and discussing the merits of contemporary fiction. I am dancing, then rushing toward the bus stop in the rain. In another springtime, so distant from our own, I am walking along Pont Alexandre III, craning my neck to glimpse the resplendent Iron Lady, gasping when I see her. Though I have seen her countless times before.

In another June, another July, I am celebrating my thirtieth birthday in Malta or Jordan. Somewhere endlessly warm and faraway. I see myself donning a silk scarf, the one my sister gifted me after visiting the ateliers of Lyon. I walk through the ancient city of Petra, topaz and ruby against a glorious sky of blue. There is sand in my shoes, beneath my fingernails, clinging to my burnt scalp. A fine dust settles within the crevices of my outstretched palm. Thirty years: a myopic period of time when perceived against the vast history of this place.

In another August or September, I am eating candied dates and baklava in a bed strown with rose petals. I sight the passage of an oryx while lounging by the pool and sip tiny espressos in a room that overlooks the Al Wadi desert. I remember thinking that the sky had never looked so enormous, that I had never been so hot. My skin glistens with sweat as I pedal along the dusty bike paths, marveling at the fecund palms heavy with the cries of exotic birds of impossible hues.

I open my eyes and gaze toward the kitchen window, toward the same deserted playground and overgrown lawn that I have watched and considered for the past nine weeks. I close my eyes, and these four walls fall away again. I am swimming in the Adriatic; I am weaving through the labyrinthine mountain roads of Southern Appalachia, singing as the dirt trails send me lurching forward; I am sloppily devouring falafel in Budapest; I am laughing as the Beffroi de Lille chimes heavily, and I am relishing the taste of a cool, Belgian beer.

Oh, yes. I am there, or there, or there.

I am anywhere but here.

About Gabriella

I'm a twenty-something American with a caffeine addiction and chronic wanderlust. I have been living and working in France for the past seven years, teaching students the importance of the Oxford comma and negotiating licensing rights for the Albin Michel Group. I love books and travel more than I love anything else.
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