“How do you feel?” I asked her the morning after.
“I feel…like spring,” she said.
“Spring?” I then asked, more than a little puzzled. “That really wasn’t the response I was expecting from someone who just lost her job. How does getting fired make you feel like spring?”
Rolling over beside me in bed, Violet rested her head upon my chest and began to explain.
“You know how free and awesome you feel on that first really warm day of spring? The last of the snow is gone, and everywhere you look there are flowers poking out of the ground. You hear the birds singing too, for the first time in a very long time. Best of all, you get to toss the heavy winter coat and boots that were wearing you down and put on something lighter and more colourful, because you know that from now on you’re looking at nothing but bright, sunny days. I tell you, it’s like being reborn.”
I couldn’t tell if she really felt that way or if she was in some state of denial, so I asked her how she was planning to get by now that she was out of work. She certainly wasn’t moving in with me. We were a couple, but only in the sense that three months of dating makes you a couple. Close enough for sleepovers, but not close enough for one to volunteer to support the other.
“Oh don’t worry about me,” she said. “I have everything I need in life.”
“Oh yeah, such as…?”
“Such as a passport, a carry-on bag, and a map of the world.”
“How will that feed you?”
“I’m a waitress, honey and a damn good one. Well, except on the nights when I feel the need to put creepy, drunk perverts in their place. I can serve up burgers and fries just as easily in Thailand as I can here. You can come with me if you want.”
A part of me did, but a bigger part of me knew that people like me are destined for a house in the suburbs, two-point-five children, and a job we hope will allow us to retire before our bodies betray us.
I drove her to the airport the following week, knowing that we would never see each other again. Every now and then, though, I get a postcard from places I know I’ll never visit. It’s always a nature shot, taken early in spring.