The train station was empty. I was the only person on the platform, no trains due in for ten minutes. There wasn’t silence, more a quiet that made you remember hearing your own pulse when you dive underwater.
Ten minutes. An empty platform. Possibility. I took advantage.
I pulled up my current favourite instrumental song, raised my arms, and waltzed.
I forgot about counting, about if I was meant to go left right or the other way, forgot about the closed circuit cameras above me. I forgot all of it, because I had remembered. I had remembered I’ve always wanted to dance on a train station platform. Opportunity presented, and I didn’t need anyone else to make it happen but myself. So I danced, and I laughed, and I thanked myself afterwards as my train screeched its arrival.
A week later, I still think about those couple of minutes. Every single time I do, a smile blooms across my face, and my heart goes supernova. It was a love letter in an unexpected moment, written by myself, and it continues to feed something deep and sometimes whimpering way down inside my belly. I fed myself love by recognising a want, a need, an opportunity.
I want to do it again. Not necessarily the Train Station Waltz (though I’m sure I’ll do that again because it was too wonderful not to repeat), but to pay attention to what makes my sigh full of appreciation and delight. To what actually makes me sigh or grin in undeniable excitement or from being so stunningly in the moment of right now.
Why wait for someone to buy you flowers? Why not go to bed ten minutes early just to revel in the foamy seaside sound of the new doona/duvet, or stop and watch the rain fall? If you want to swing as high as you can, splash in a puddle, spit watermelon seeds or get the moisturiser you love so much despite it costing more than the sensible cheaper one… why don’t you?
All of the why nots are multiple, familiar and obvious. It (whatever ‘it’ is) isn’t sensible. Useful. Practical. Other people are meant to buy you flowers, chocolate, perfume. The dishes aren’t washed, the floors aren’t mopped, you have plenty of ballpoint pens which work just as well as that pen which writes like the ink is alive. Swings are for little kids. Puddles are messy and undignified. Flower bouquets just die. Adults don’t have time for nonsense. We’ll do it later. We’re too busy.
Of course we’re all busy, but I refuse to accept we’re all too busy to live, to enjoy life’s moments – the ones which sink us to the ground swollen with satisfaction, shoot us skywards shrieking with delight, make us shimmy and dance and sway in a concrete tunnel, suck in lungfuls of lilac and jasmine until we taste it on our tongues – between the grown up sensible tasks and responsibilities we deal with every day.
I think the proverbial virtuous woman was a dedicated woman: to her faith, her family, and her community. I can picture the woman, sweat curling her hair extra tight against the nape of her neck, the arch of the sun tracing the curve of her spine over her chores, her hands sore and aching at the end of a day. But I also then see her quietly slipping up the stairs to the roof, where she watches the eggplant and charcoal shadows chase each other, relaxing as they tumble and smudge together under the glistening sky. I see her shoulders relax as she soaks in the starlight, as she crushes lavender under her nose, anoints herself with it and sighs, smiling.
Do you do loving things for yourself? What do you do as a love letter to yourself? What is your main reason or response to saying “no” to something that delights you? What feeds you more than food?