I want to live in a crazy top-floor apartment in a funky old building with decrepit staircases and clanging radiators. I want to paint the walls red and cover them with a haphazard collage of pictures and postcards and notes and ticket stubs that all remind me of someone or someplace or something, special or interesting or sad. I want to drink hot chocolate and learn to knit and prefer scotch with a twist and have an impossible amount of shoes but only one pair of worn-out jeans. I want French doors and a weird chandelier and a little balcony or terrace or ledge that overlooks maybe the West Village or Gramercy or maybe Paris or London or even Savannah, a city to which I have never been but sounds lovely and I would like to visit very much, thank you.
I want a briefcase and a suit and a purpose and an expense account. Frequent flyer miles and a pretend office “romance” with a friend who knows how much I love my husband but flirts with me nonetheless, even though I know he loves his wife too. I want to learn how to blow-dry my hair really, really straight and never forget to get regular bikini waxes. I want manicures and pedicures and massages and an assistant. I would like to go running three times a week and try to leave work early on Tuesdays for yoga and have a security pass that gets me into the elevator bank and I want to spend $8 on salad bar lunches and complain about my boss and have really, really good health care benefits.
I want to run a marathon and feel strong and skinny and healthy and inspired. I want to have special socks and pants and sport bras just for running and exercising. I even want a blister or two. I want to trust that my body can carry me far. I want muscle definition and strong lungs and I want to set a goal and work and work and work at achieving it. I want my flabby belly to flatten up. I want to wear teeny t-shirts and tight jeans without worrying that a roll of fat is squeezed out the top of my jeans, and I want to pin a number on my shirt just like all other runners.
I want all-white walls and lots of well-planned shelves. I want minimal furniture and color-coded closets and a cleaning lady. I want sharp edges and no dust and a couch without arms. I want a plasma-screen television and a Viking range and ceilings so high that when I walk, the clicky-clack of my heels echoes in my big, lofty home. I want a streamlined wardrobe and an organized bathroom and a library arranged in a way that makes sense. I want white sheets, white towels, white dishes, all clean, all the time. I want to sip a martini while listening to “Let It Bleed” and never, ever wonder again what I would name my baby girl if I ever had one.
I want to start a tradition of hosting a fancy, formal-but-not-really dinner on Christmas Eve for all of my friends, because I think it is important to get everyone together and use the fancy china and drink from the good crystal and put on lipstick and light candles and dress like a lady. I would buy expensive wine and give everyone a box of fancy chocolates as favors and we’d eat and go home and fall asleep drunk and happy in the arms of someone who loves us, and in the morning, we’d all spend time with our families, relaxed and content because the night before was a chance to come in from the cold and celebrate with the people we have chosen to include in our lives, which is every bit as important as family, if you ask me.
I want to see my friend Jay more, and I want to make sure that he knows how much he means to me, and how he is the one person for whom I would do anything – literally, almost anything – if he needed it. I would bleed, I would give money, I would yell and holler and sing and cry and take care of business and do any favor and climb any mountain if he needed it. I want Jay to know that it wasn’t just chance that brought us together, wasn’t happenstance that he was the very first person I met in New York. I want him to know that I love him as a friend and like a brother, for ever and ever, and that I am so glad he is moving back to New York and that I want him to fall truly, madly, deeply and permanently in love with someone who is man enough to return the favor.
I want to learn how to tell a joke without ruining it and forgetting the punch line. I want to learn Spanish, which I really should have done years ago, but unfortunately studied French for six years because I thought it sounded cool to say, Oh, I have to do my French homework tonight. I want to be good at chess. And poker, too. And I want to give more hugs. I want to bake bread and always remember to take my makeup off before bed. I want more stamps in my passport. I want a food processor and a new bed and I want to repaint the bedroom because I think that the color I chose is way too turquoise for my taste and now I worry that it looks juvenile and cheap instead of tranquil.
I want to talk to my brothers more, all three of them. I want to see them more, too. And I want to get lots of quick, meaningless phone calls and emails from their girlfriends (who I want to be my sister-in-laws), because we are all friends and casual and chatty and familiar and so there is no need for things ever to be weird, so Monica can call me with a quick question about a recipe and Vanessa can call me to complain about something snotty my mom said and it is no big thing at all, because we are all family and getting together is not an ordeal, not something that takes ages and ages of planning because we are all far-flung and I am weird about family stuff.
I want my friend Em to stay in New York, even though I know she has to move. I want to always have girlfriends like her. I want to be 50 years old and still laughing and sharing a smoke with my girls. I want to have a hook with the keys of all my best friends hanging on it, because my home is their home is my home, and if anyone ever needs a favor, I am there.
I want to walk in my apartment to the smell of dinner already cooked and the sight of my sweet, sweet husband already home. I want him to remember that I am soft on the inside, no matter how hard I seem. I want him to tell me why he picked me, even if it seems obnoxious, like I am trolling for compliments. I want the trash to be taken out, the kitchen tidied, the wine poured. I want hugs and kisses and fancy, expensive cheese and ice cream and warm slippers and flannel pajamas. I want to be taken care of.
I want to be strong, to be soft, to be smart and solid and sure. I want to be home and I want to be far, far away. I want to figure it out, eventually.