Alexandra had decided against having children. She never regretted her decision to live without any offspring. Never having to spend her days surrounded by diapers and screaming children. Never having to miss work for a toddler with a runny nose. Never missing friends’ big days for some minute child-related problems. She found it absolutely ideal. 

Without the encumbrance of children, her life had been a hodgepodge of experiments in finding herself. She had spent years in college, preparing for a career in law, dedicating hundreds upon hundreds of hours to studying for the LSATs only to decide it wasn’t a good fit. Then as she thought back on her incomplete college career, she wandered through life for a bit, not quite knowing what was going to come next. During that time, she did menial labor, working minimum wage for months on end until she finally dropped from exhaustion. She was trying to take care of her financial responsibilities but also hoped to save up for some sort of an adventure. After nearly a year of working such exhaustive shifts and eating next-to-nothing to save up for this unbenounced mystery plan - one that she had lingering in the back of her mind - she stumbled across a travel agency pamphlet. And she knew what she wanted to do. It felt like her excruciatingly long hours were finally paying off. Two weeks after that realization, she caught a plane to Geneva and proceeded to hitchhike around Europe until her bank account ran dry. 

While exploring the crevices of the world, she realized that she had a passion for writing. So she wrote and wrote about the people and places she encountered. But despite the fact that she enjoyed this hobby dearly, she could never get all of the words quite right. And she could never make money from this pursuit. It wasn’t until her thirties that she found a career path that intrigued her and actually provided her with a steady paycheck. It was an unusual pursuit but she jumped right in. She finished her final year of college after her long break, and received a degree in anthropological studies. She was never quite sure if it was what she was “meant to be doing,” but she generally enjoyed at least some aspect of her toils. And even when she didn’t, she had a paycheck to look forward to. 

Intertwined with her anthropological travels, Alexandra took up various cultural hobbies in the numerous countries she traveled to. She discovered Georgian dance in the once-Soviet republic and she learned to make authentic Italian pasta. Until the ripe old age of 73, she continued her life like this, with little hiccups along the way. She went on anthropological digs and wrote about her incredible discoveries, taking the occasional time off to be with family and friends or to explore. By the time she finally decided to retire, she was content with her work and her travels.

Though her professional life had been rather fulfilling, some looked at Alexandra and felt pity for the little old lady who never found a man. But Alexandra never had this perspective. She had always left herself open to romantic love, were the winds willing to bring someone her way. She never outwardly searched for it though. Throughout her travels, she had several encounters with both men and women but none ever felt quite right. There was a moment in Russia, where she encountered a beautiful Brazilian woman named Maria who made her want to give it all up, but at that time, her mother fell ill and Alexandra had to go home. It was as if the world just had to say, “It isn’t the time for this, my dear.”

Alexandra took care of her mother through her dying times. Though she thought about running back to find that one true love she almost had, in the years that passed, Maria had moved on. For Alexandra, it always felt as though the right person was always out of her reach. But Alexandra continued to live without remorse. She was happy to have given her mother the love and care she deserved in her through her sick days and refused to regret a single moment of it. 

Besides her mother, the platonic love in her life had always been plentiful. Even though she was always somewhere new, searching for a novel thrill, she embraced every companion she made along the way. She partied all the way from China to Switzerland in her day, making incredibly friends, and wandering through different countries with them all. 

Not only that, but she stayed in touch with people she knew from the beginning of her days. Every Tuesday, she would call her dear childhood friend Margaret and they would recount their weekly adventures. Over the span of their lives, she got to watch Margaret grow into a magnificent person. But there eventually came a day when Margaret didn’t pick up the phone. And though it hurt, Alexandra knew that Margaret had led a life well-lived and was ready for the end.  

As she had also lived a long and joyful life, it was becoming clear that she was approaching the end of her days. There were a myriad of wrinkles scribbled upon her freckled elderly face. Her pale blue eyes had faded to a sort of grey that accounted for the distortion of her vision. And on this day, as she turned 100 years old, she looked out the window, seeing dandelion seeds drifting through the air, reminiscent of her childhood dreams, the silence in her room reminded her of her solitude. There was no regret buzzing around in her mind; she had always been content being alone. But this was a new sort of alone that she was growing weary of very quickly. With all of her dearest friends having passed already, and her work being far behind her, she felt melancholic yet complete. As though her time on this earth had come to an end. Not as a tragic or disastrous event, but as a peaceful resolution, a culmination of her life’s work. She breathed a sigh of relief as she headed off to bed, to what would be her final and everlasting sleep. 

August 09, 2019 15:05

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RBE | Illustration — We made a writing app for you | 2023-02

We made a writing app for you

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