What should last days look Like? Why do endings matter? As I sit on the sole step of a tiny bank in a crowded cobbled stone street in Old Market in Stockholm, on my last evening here, I’m reflecting on what a friend asked me as a consequence of my lethargy to leave my room -“What do you want your last day to be Like?” He did, of course, mean to make me think about my last day IN Europe but I couldn’t help but wonder, what do we want our last days in life to look like? What is it that will give me unbridled happiness and content as I embark on a different journey as the day flips over, the clocks in the world tick without hesitation and people world over reset their internal man-made, cell-induced clocks?
Should last days be lived in the high of life surrounded by what we think will bring us the momentary joy we deny ourselves regularly?
Should last days bring a sense of contentment where one has seen and done it all? Where every cobblestone has felt my footsteps and every museum seen and registered the scratchy black strip of my brother’s credit card?
Should last days be ones where I call upon those I’ve loved and lost. Or continue to love or am beginning to love?
Should last days be found holed up in a room with clothes strewn apart waiting to be tidied and wanted?
Should, instead, last days be lived in isolation where the fragility of the human minds and memories dawn upon us as precariously and slowly as the morning dew settles on its prey where all we are, all that we amount to is remembered by the morality of those who may or may not find space in their hearts for us?
Should last days be used to soak up everything? The wind, the church, the meatballs, the water, the ever-present smell of the unfinished cigarette, the straight back hair, the glossy faces, the colorful wine glasses, the backlit windows? Where we carry this world in a small pocket in our memory where we struggle to fit everything in our presumed past and hopeful future?
Or, finally, should last days be lived as if another clock finished its round for the day. As if the skies are simply waiting (and in Europe, probably smoking as they wait) for the sun to turn up to open shop. Should last days be sprinkled with the mundane yesterday’s and tomorrow’s where today just happens to be a part of an overarching continuum over which we have no control? Should they, last days, be just another sock in the laundry that we are one wash away from losing?
I don’t know.
Honestly, I don’t care. I’d learned early on in my life that the human heart and mind holds onto nothing. The imagination, however, lets go of nothing. And in that struggle too often we’ve lost moments, minutes, hours, days, weeks. Today, still sitting on the sole step of a tiny bank in a cobbled stone street in Old Market in Stockholm, I ended my day as a tourist in love.
In love with the idea of a world so removed from my own that within a week it’ll feel unreal. In love with the wind as it forces my jacket back on to my shoulders into my hair and securely on my chest. In love with the people who I’ve never met and never will, who carry stories I can only hope to read one day. In love with the knowledge that I’m going home to my parents and will see them in less than 24 hours. In love with the room, I share with my brother, who has at every step made me carry my jacket to keep me warm and extended his heart to keep me safe. In love with the plans for the future that I’ve made and hope to see through. In love with what tomorrow holds but more so in love with the ice cream I hold that is slowly beginning to melt into the warmth of my palm and that I can’t get enough of.
The Ice Cream I can’t get enough of.
That’s me on my last day in Europe. ^ Me, my headphones and some French song that I can’t even hum.