“We’re all going to grow up someday. We might as well know what we want.”
The days go faster as you get older. When you’re little, a day feels so long and a week, even longer. But as you age, the days slip into twilight and dark and you barely even notice an hour has gone by. I fall onto couches with feet hurting and my lower back screaming protest at eight hours pacing concrete floors, veins beginning to form spidery legs across my skin. And I look out the window or down at my phone and I wish for a limitless number of genie-granted wishes.
“You usually can’t always get what you want,” my coworker said to me today, locking his big blue eyes to mine. And I smiled and I said, “Yes, yes you can.” But he’s got ten years on me, so what do I know?
All I know is I’ve always been a girl with a laundry list of wants. I keep a record of them.
I want to wake up and hear the birds singing country songs outside my window. I want windows that open into lilacs and apple trees and city streets and quiet country roads.
I want red wine every day and buckets of sangria and mojitos that taste like summer and whiskey that tastes like the cold. I want machines to spin cotton candy as pink and dreamy as clouds at sunset. I want the golden hour of early evening and the timid light of early, early dawn. When I was younger, we’d stay up all night and shoot off fireworks at four in the morning to celebrate the morning. I always want fireworks.
I want the ocean to spill over my feet like a bottle of burst champagne. I want sparkles, I want Marilyns and Dean Martins. I want the boat on the water and the car on the gravel. I want the radio on, low. I want Merle and Patsy Cline and Johnny and June and Stevie Nicks and Joni Mitchell and Leonard Cohen. I want the dusty light of harvest on the farm when the wheat fields get stripped of their golden glory and the air smells like hay. I want the rush and the motion of the city, the perfume of wet concrete and a thousand shampooed heads. I want to watch loons swim patterns across the lake.
I want cowboy boots and spike heels and no shoes at all, to drive barefoot with my red-painted toes pressed hard against the gas pedal, the left foot drumming time. I want a new dress for every day, and once I’ve worn them I want to give them away to a good home.
I want a great big love that knocks me over, one that sounds like steel guitars and crickets at night when it gets quiet, but it never gets boring. I know that I’ll meet this great big love someday soon – I’ll rear-end his car or something and he’ll get out to cuss me out and then bam, three weeks later we will be married in Las Vegas on a Wednesday afternoon and I won’t be wearing shoes. Or maybe I’ve already met that great big love. I’m open to interpretation.
I want the lights to dim. I want the sparks.
I want a farmhouse that creaks and sings with age and I want to fill it up with babies and big dogs named Waylon and books and flowers. I want those babies to run around barefoot in the yard and climb trees and scream their heads off. I want them to have everything they want, to look at the world with big wondrous eyes. I want their lives to sound like pancakes frying and fiddles humming and my big crazy family tumbling around them like so many cheerful birds.
I want massive storms that light up the sky and big, humid summer nights where everyone glistens with sweat and feels revved up with sex and pure heat. I want blizzards that dump gallons of snow everywhere. I want the mountains and the canyons, the palm trees and the evergreens and the shimmery ash trees. I want the extremes.
You can’t always get what you want, sure. But you can always know what you want and keep your eyes open for it.