I leave Singapore around Midnight on Monday. Sunday. What day is it?
It is Monday in Singapore. It is still Sunday in London and New York. It will be a Magical Monday, then. A day lived several times over.
I am asleep before take-off. I wake up maybe eleven hours later, supine, tucked in, with a bottle of water next to me. Which reminds me of the time I confessed my love of flying British Airways, and A replied: Yes, the flight attendants are like nannies, and he made a motion of cuddling up and sucking his thumb. I’d rolled my eyes at him.
But there I am, with a motherly blonde standing over me an hour outside of Heathrow, asking me if I want tea and whether I am having the hot breakfast. She offers me an English Breakfast and the omelet, even though there are noodles to be had. I ask for the noodles and she tells me I don’t want them. She says it in a motherly way, as if she is protecting me.
I persist, but she is right, the noodles are gross.
We land at T5, and my life goes back to ordinary, which it hasn’t been for nearly 12 weeks. The border agent hassles me. Which means, all things considered, we have achieved status quo ante bellum. I have been begging for this moment since the morning of January 17th. I have been gasping for this very air since the very moment I drew my first, ragged, January breath.
Everything has changed.
I rush to the hotel for no reason; I rush through a workout; I change into work clothes.
I flatten my wild hair; I go to work.
The day is ending and after a meeting, I head to the opera with a friend, who expressed surprise at one point that I’d never been to the opera house. We are seeing Die Zauberflotte, which have also never seen. It is an evening of firsts.
We have arrived slightly early, so we decide to have a drink and a snack. Balthazar is nearby. We sit at the bar; order cheeseburgers. I ask for mine with fries, and I do so deliberately, because an American ordering a cheeseburger with frites or chips at an American restaurant (even if in London) is simply ridiculous. Said American might as well find the nearest bridge and jump off.
We settle in with drinks, and immediately, I begin shooting off my mouth. The thing I’ve noticed about men…I say…
I’m still here…he replies.
The thing I’ve noticed is that so many men go for one type of women and then marry so far outside of their “type.”
He thinks on it for a moment, as if marinating in the statement’s veracity. And it wasn’t to say that women didn’t do exactly the same. After all, I’d married a complete outlier.
The thing is, he says (and I am paraphrasing), You can’t both be the star in the relationship. Marrying someone exactly like yourself isn’t sustainable.
He is exactly right — and it isn’t a cynical statement, but a wise one. It is as if to say, one must be self-aware enough to find a complimentary partner. Otherwise, it is like trying to force two same pole’d magnets together — doomed to failure.
This, I realise, is why Frederic and I were star-crossed. We were powerful, identical iron-heads — fiercly attracting each other, then at the last moment, being dangerously repulsed.
My friend and I scarf our burgers, and head into the show. It is fantastic.
At intermission, we break for another glass of wine. I am marvelling at my stamina.
My friend points out the stunning glass ceiling which is lit with a peculiar blue gloaming-glow; 51st parallel late northern light. And because I have reached the end of caring about how cool I am, I do something uncharacteristic. I turn to snap a photo of the wall of windows.
My friend snaps a photo of me whilst I am being uncool.
His photo turns out a bit mis-en-abyme.
Intermission ends, and we watch the remainder of the opera — which is also fantastic. And then our evening ends and we part ways.
I fall into bed.
I am feeling like myself for maybe the first time in five years. It is a beginning and an end; a day lived nearly twice.
It is a Magical Monday.