Olivia stayed up all night to watch the Royal Wedding on TV. She hadn’t done anything like it in a while, and now felt strange.
When the wedding was over, she brewed a pot of coffee and took a mug out onto the porch to sit and look out over the lake. Everything was dewy, and misty; the steam from the surface of her coffee mimicked the fog on the lake. Olivia took a sip of the warm liquid and let it sit in her mouth. She got lost in her thoughts.
She thought back to the time she was twenty-two and had driven out from school to spend a weekend at this lake house – her parents’ – and she and her friends had stayed up all night drinking, and laughing, and playing guitars along the docks. She thought of marshmallows, on sticks from the woods, over a fire pit. She thought of feeling light and young. She thought of leaping into the cold water by night. The sudden crack of water on a bare stomach. She could almost feel her feet, once more, sinking into the muddy bottom of the lake. She thought of how wonderful it felt to have mud molding up through, and around her toes.
Olivia remembered her fear of lake creatures lurking under the dark surface. Ray was there – he’d come with her friend’s Leah and Mark. They were all just kids.
She couldn’t tell if it was due to her fatigue, but she thought about canceling her mail, and selling the lake house. She needed something to change. If she had more money, she could buy a plane ticket somewhere - like New Zealand, or Thailand. Maybe it was time to get a dog, or to learn to shoot a gun. She thought about moving back to the city and trying to interfere with Ray’s new life, his comparative literature class, his wife. Maybe she could finally take up smoking? That’s it. Smoking. Something classy though, like cigars or a pipe.
She blamed the Royal Wedding for putting these thoughts in her mind, but she felt anxious – she could sense her potential had spread thin. And thinking of the Royal Wedding made her think of London. Thinking of London, made her think of Ray – why hadn’t she met Ray in London, as they were supposed to? Why had she left him waiting? Why had she, at the last minute, told her cab driver to turn around at the airport, and head back to her apartment in the city? He never did forgive her for it.
She finished her coffee and went inside. The screen door snapped behind her like an elastic waistband on a belly. She called on a substitute to take over her class for the day. The woman agreed, and the day was clear.
She washed her face and took a book onto the couch – a mystery – on the couch.
In the afternoon, she woke to a strong breeze shaking the leaves out of the trees above the cabin. Olivia rubbed the salt out of her eyes and yawned. She felt heavy and old. And she was surprised, but the first thing she thought to herself wasn’t about the Royal Wedding, her youth, her job, or Ray – if she was being completely honest – it was that she hoped it wasn’t too late to become an astronaut.
Postcard: Found at JUNK in Brooklyn, NY in May 2010.