Round and Round

I couldn't tell what time it was when my plane landed in the

darkness at Schiphol. Christmas was a few days away and I

was nine hours off balance. I smiled at my boyfriend, Grant,

for the first time in weeks. I wondered if his eyes were

always so blue.

I was floating, but awake, and I felt fuzzy. I leaned

against Grant as we rode on the train to Brussels, our final

destination today. We held hands as our train passed the

sheep grazing in the fields. The grass seemed brighter than

the dull sky at this time of year. The gray turned to black

and then to rain. We kissed and hugged our friends at the

Grand Place Square.

Anna was radiant in this cold night, her silver hoop earrings

and curly brown hair always remind me of Sofia Loren.

It's hard for me to look at the man at her side, her self-

inflicted heartbreak. She is wrapped up in her love for him

just like the scarf around her neck. I want to take it away

from her, tear it off of her, but I can't because she will

love Dave until she finds herself swinging and drowning in

the night rain at the end of a thick, slippery rope, pulling

herself up hand over hand, crying and gasping until there is

nothing left. Tonight, Anna and Dave are together, but I

know he will leave her alone once again here in the dark

winter. So for tonight, Grant and I played along with their

charade. We followed them, with their hands in each other's

back pockets, and we meandered through the narrow streets

lined with the Christmas markets, small, uniform wooden

sheds. We stopped at one and sipped their mulled wine

bursting with cloves and cinnamon. The dark sky rained

again, yet the streets were still full. I don't remember

what day of the week it was. Families strolled in the cold,

the little ones were bundled. I watched people peel fresh

roasted chestnuts and eat platefuls of creamy potatoes,

cheese, and bacon. Friends drank and sang in the street.

Dogs wagged their tails. The vendors sold candles, meats,

handmade beaded purses, sweets, all wonderful gifts for the

season.

It might have stopped raining and the cobblestones were

glossy. My eyes followed the strings of white light

decorations above the street. And then we walked up to it, a

carousel. And this I remember clearly. Each car cradled

giggling children in copper rockets and the whimsical flying

machines with wings and rivets, like the ones Jules Verne

might have imagined. I watched the families ride in this

happy musical orbit. My mittened hand was warm in Grant's

and I thought to myself to the very first time in my entire

life, "I wish I had a child I could show this to."