I’m walking to the bus stop. It should be a five-minute walk but these lights at every block keep turning red. I guess my timing is off because I keep missing the green ones. So instead, I impatiently wait when I feel a trickle fall on my head. I sigh when I realize it’s about to rain. This isn’t a new phenomenon, not in this city. I take out my umbrella, the yellow one you once lamented. Why would you carry something so bright, you once asked me, it draws so much attention. I guess yellow was too obnoxious for you. You preferred black, predictable and safe. Bright colors are so childish, you would tell me.
The lights finally change and I able to cross the street. I pass a few landmarks on my path. There’s the first coffee shop I took you too. This one is my favorite, I told you once. It’s just another Starbucks, you scoffed at me. There’s the dessert place we went to at my insistence. You’ll love the cake here, I told you once. It’s nothing special, you retorted after barely having a bite. As I walk along, there are a few other shops and bars I can think of etched with rendezvous with you. And with each landmark, I recall your words of bitter candor.
When I knew you then, I imagined you as the voice of reason and maturity. I took your complains and remarks as sensible criticism. For I was just this foolish youth on the verge of maturity, but you were already there at adulthood undoubtedly.
When I first told you I wrote, you looked at me and laughed. What are you going to even do with that? I don’t know, I replied. I haven’t given it much thought; it’s just a hobby. You laughed again at me. Well at least, it’s just a hobby and nothing more.
I have one of those grown up jobs now and I wonder if you would be pleased. In fact, I just left work and am headed to my nightly economics class. I wonder if you would applaud my hustle. I also don’t write as much, perhaps another development you would approve of. Isn’t this the type of person you wanted me to be? I am left pondering this and other questions as I reach the bus stop.
The bus is running late, so I sigh and take a seat on the bench. I wonder what became of you. You never were one to update anything on social media. I think you should be done school now, or nearing it soon. I wonder if you ever found a specific passion. Passion? You once laughed at this notion. Of course, an Arts student like you would worry of that. I don’t need passion; I just need to make enough. You study economics, you should know this.
You were right; I do know the significance of rationality and opportunity costs. I know how ambiguous and costly passion could be. But I also understand utility and its nature to decline over time. Once you obtain your monetary threshold, once you make enough as you call it, the satisfaction you gain from it will decline. You might compensate by increasing the threshold or substituting with materialistic things, but the effect will wear off because this is the definitive premise of diminishing marginal utility.
I wonder if you’ve realized this. I wonder if you are even happy. I wonder of these conditional possibilities that could have become of you until my bus finally arrives. As I wait in line to board the bus, I close up my umbrella. The yellow color is quite faded now. It has lost its vibrancy from wear and tear. It’s rusty and dark now, just as you would prefer and as I remember you to be.