As always, the chill in the breeze comes to find me barefoot and in denial, not yet ready to give up summer. I close the windows and watch as the first raindrops fall on the glass. The air smelt of rain, of dampness, of fall; I should’ve known it was coming.
Ιt’s time. Summer is over and the first winter rains have begun. My new year is starting. And it’s time to change the page, to go on to the next chapter.
My New Year is a moveable feast. The date of its beginning is unknown; but I feel it in my bones as the time moves closer and I know that it has arrived with the first shower. That’s when my new year starts.
A notebook tucked high upon a shelf comes down.
My notebook is as old fashioned as I am. Nothing can ever be deleted; only crossed out. Only paper, blank ink, and a red pen to correct my errors with when I revise. I could try to scratch things out –I have tried, but I only ever end up ripping pages. And you know how I am, I can’t stand that kind of mess. Now, I simply correct, letting mistakes and typos show, so that I might be wiser next time round.
I hesitate. I procrastinate. I light a cigarette and stare at it as if I’m contemplating something of real importance. I’m not.
“Here’s to new beginnings” the title of the chapter. I should have known, even as I wrote it, that at some point it would be bleeding crimson ink. The tip of my red pen touches the paper and, in one swift movement, I pull a line through the title.
It’s like ripping off a band-aid; it hurts as I do it. The impression is deep. Too deep. I pressed down too hard nearly ripping the page.
Somewhere just below the middle of the page, there is a blank line. Overcome by nostalgia, I pause. There’s always a blank line when something ends. A gap of nothingness after great loss.
Your name is written underneath.
I sit there and stare at it for a moment. I hadn’t even considered you important when I wrote it; mean -and ironic- as that may sound. You were just a face in the crowd. One of the few pleasant things amidst the bad. What a pity to have to cross it out. What a shame to have to see red ink defile the curves and arches of my handwriting, all the emotion I had put into the beauty of a few letters. I sigh.
And as I begin to pull a line from one side to the other, my red pen fails me. No ink is left on the paper. Only the imprint of the tip across your name, like a scratch that did not score the skin – not like a bleeding wound. I try again. Nothing. The same; your name remains there, scarred, but in tact. Getting frustrated, I’m about to start scratching pen against the paper until I get it to work, but a thought stops me.
There’s always that one mistake, that one person, who you know will be a mistake even as the first thoughts of them cross your mind. You realize what you’re getting yourself into and you have a pretty good idea of where you’ll end up. But ultimately you have no power to fight it. You don’t want to, even knowing that it’s the farthest thing from a smart choice.
More cons than pros, more wrongs than rights, more possibilities of it all crashing and burning in hellfire than actually going well; but still. You do what you do because you want to experience it; you want them, no matter the consequences and outcome. You make a conscious choice – and jump. That’s your favorite mistake. The one that you will never regret making.
You are my favorite mistake.
My best one so far.
The only one I ever made for the all the right reasons.
The only one I made for myself; no one else.
The only one I’d make over and over again.
Deep down, I know I would have done nothing differently. Even now, knowing the end, I would do it all, just the same, all over again, given the chance.
And all for one selfish reason; I enjoyed every minute of it.
Through my mistake I felt alive, I found myself. So, you see, you’re my favorite because, for once, it really was all about me.
There is no such thing as a coincidence. I don’t believe in them; they don’t exist. Everything in our lives –even a pen that refuses to cross out a name– is a sign. Hell if I understand what it means, what kind of sign it is, but it is one nonetheless.
An idea crosses my mind, something I have never done before. Instead of insisting on something that’s not working, I leave your name right there, as is, and turn the page. A new chapter begins and I leave my favorite mistake behind, in the previous one.
I decide to change tactics; red pen in hand, the one I was trying to cross your name out with, and I print:
“We shall see”
Ironically enough, the damn thing writes that perfectly.