She walks the city like a stranger,
The city of her youth,
The liberation from tradition,
She was most used to,
The city that pushed her off the cliff,
To learn how to fly for the first time.
She tells herself that she could buy shoes,
Louis Vuitton maybe,
But these once desired wants,
Seem not to want maybe,
Then she says that she could,
Go dine in a fancy restaurant,
The expensive ones she used to wash dishes at,
Perhaps order some champagne.
She wanders through the cobbled streets,
Cross the bridges and sit on benches,
Watch the ducks and the pelicans,
The storm that is brewing in the horizons.
Perhaps she could go to the theaters,
To watch the latest play,
The kinds she only used to read reviews about,
In the outdated magazines and throw-aways.
She ambles along the riverbank,
Watch people and shops that catered to the rich,
Why is she not in the mood anymore,
When she could really afford anything.
Why is she not excited to live the ‘good life’,
She once so yearned and craved,
In chauffer driven aristocratic style,
The designer-wear and stones engraved.
As she pulls her black leather jacket closer to her body,
And warms her palms in the pockets,
She could not help but realise,
How little she longed for and favoured.
Now that she qualifies to buy the labels,
Her old black heels seems still good,
Her one of the few lipsticks seems
Just the right colour and mood.
The pair of tiny gold earrings,
Seems the most elegant,
A grown distaste for all that is obvious.
She strolls around the city gates,
To gather its charm again,
To walk and breathe the city in,
Its ancient spirit exchanged.
The city of riches and rags,
The imperfections only visible in the day,
The city that never sleeps,
Never defeated, no never, it seems.
The city of war and peace treaties,
The city of cowards and heroes,
The city of slave masters and saints,
All in monuments and statues.
She walks further up to board the ferry,
That takes her around this grandiose place,
The chill in the wind reminds her,
The history of her hard cold days.
But it doesn’t do anything to her anymore,
She respects this city that taught her the trade,
The times she was someone’s escort,
The beginnings she has blocked in her brain.
The raw episodes after episodes,
Erased to ease the then pain,
But it is not pain anymore,
No she wouldn’t call it pain.
She is more than that…,
She is the one who won a lottery,
The man who bailed her out,
The man who eventually died,
To leave his fortune authorized,
To his wife of just two weeks,
To do whatever she likes.
So she went home finally,
Built a house for her mother,
Settled the debts of her brother,
Helped an orphanage and another,
Bought a chain of businesses,
That only she knew what, when and where,
To make money, her undeserved fair share.
Now she has her workers,
She doesn’t work at all,
But mentors them from a distance,
While she does her travels,
Still like it used to be,
In economy class and small motels,
The public transport as it seems.
She pulls her beanie to spare her ears,
From the piercing cold of the day unwind,
The splish and splash of the water,
As it gashes against the boat confined.
She breathes in the city again,
Under its late autumn dusky skies,
The changing colour of the twilight,
That reminds her of her ending story line.
Beginning middle and end,
Undefined and unchartered,
For reasons only her mind can comprehend,
To protect her body from the grief bartered.
Grief of what?
Loss or death?
No, the grief of not unknowing,
What it may have been,
If life is never the same.
The past is nothing but a chapter,
And the book has to be read,
‘And this long chapter is over’, she says,
‘But the story cannot be’,
For every one’s sake.
‘So turn the page over woman’, she says,
And brushes her hair off her face,
She decides to change the final stanza,
It is time to read again.