Most people think the sound of a whistling kettle is annoying, but to me it sounds like peace. A cup of tea in the morning while I watch the movement of the forest around me is the perfect way to start my day.
I walk over to my stove and turn off the burner, removing the kettle and pouring the hot water into a mug. The steam fogs up my glasses, so I remove them and the world instantly becomes blurry. It amazes me how someone’s perspective can change due to something so simple. I put my glasses back on and the world changes again.
I used to be a city girl. Born and raised in a big, bustling metropolis. Rich parents, always working, allowed me to do anything I pleased with a whole lot of money. I walked the streets as they came to life at night, light shining upon me as I ran free like I was frolicking in a wide open field. Artificial light outshined the stars, but I never did mind. I was in love with the adventure, finding a new place to escape to every night. I dreamed of growing up one day, having a husband and a family to share my love with.
When I was twenty-three I met a boy. He was visiting from far away, a small town in the United Kingdom, and had never seen a place with something happening everywhere he looked. He stood still, taking in the lights flickering bright above, the ambiance of the crackling electricity. He didn’t know anyone was watching him, but something about the look on his face told me that we had to meet. I slowly approached, as not to scare him.
“It’s beautiful.” I said softly. He looked over at me for the first time and smiled.
“I’ve never seen a thing like it in the world.” He replied.
“This is only a fraction of the wonders this city holds.”
“Would you show me?” He asked, as if we had known each other forever.
We walked in silence as he gazed at the buildings, tall and strong all around us, blown away by their size and the way the lights glinted off of windows. I took him to the river, the one surrounding the entire city. It was only there on the outside looking in, that one could get a perfect view of downtown, uptown, and everything in between.
He kissed me as the moon appeared from behind a cloud, hanging mightily high above the rooftops. I rested my head on his shoulder and we watched the boats pass by, full of people each experiencing this world in their own way. As the night went on, a band began to play in a small pavilion nearby.
“In this crazy place, oh your heart will race, and love waits for you on the corner.” The woman sang passionately.
We danced in the street, dizzy with desire, twirling like we had been in each other’s arms so many times before.
“I had a lovely time with you.” He told me as we approached my doorstep.
“Can I see you again?” I asked, strung out on pure lust.
“Meet me tomorrow morning where the band played tonight.”
The next morning came and I went to the pavilion and waited for him, but he never arrived. I watched as the sunrise turned to daylight, gleaming on the water flowing by. I sat all morning and just stared into the river, feeling the weight of the world melt away as I became entranced in its current. The night before had been magical, but it no longer felt like the magic was for me.
I left that day, catching the first train out of town. I kept hopping trains until I was far enough away from the world I was leaving behind. I found a small town enclosed by a forest. I didn’t know where I was, but I knew I wasn’t going anywhere. After so long dancing in the synthetic lights, I found myself being drawn to something more real.
I hired a man to build me a home deep in the trees, beyond the creek that split the woods. Stepping stones made a perfect path across the water, leading to my door. He planted seeds in the earth nearby, giving me a garden to tend to as my days blended together, allowing me the serenity I so desired. He built me a pen and a coop so I could raise chickens and collect eggs to sell at the market in town.
At first I wondered what happened to the boy I met in the city, but over time I came to realize that he was just a dream. He gave me a night to see my dreams coming true, but I learned that wasn’t truly what I wanted. I had always wanted to escape, be wild and free. I thought that entering a new bakery or bar or shop every night would give me this freedom I so desired, but it didn’t. I was still trapped within the confines of the city, walls closing me in everywhere I looked. So, I decided to break out of those walls and go somewhere vast and seemingly endless, somewhere I could never be trapped again.
As I adjusted to life all alone, I often worried that I had made a huge mistake. Maybe I should’ve waited for the boy just a little longer. We could’ve gotten married, had kids, passed along the love we had for the city. I feared that I would never find love outside of the flickering lights and skyscrapers. Over time though, I started to see the world from a new perspective.
Sitting by the crackling fireplace, I remember the neon signs buzzing on and on. I had always loved that sound. It reminded me of somewhere I had never been before. It was like a hint at what I had to come. Wading in the creek, I remember watching the river and how badly I wanted the current to whisk me away to somewhere brand new. I always wanted something new.
The sound of a whistling kettle is the sound of the train bringing me home.