03 April 2011

One stage before

My desk holds a calendar, a big one, 2' by 3', days divided into squares, days divided into my responsibilities, and all that which I track: meetings, appointments, where the spouse is to be, the son's rehearsals and AP tests, the daughter's commitments.

My small plans.

Going through April, mapping out life, I found a small notation in the corner. Sunday, April 3. A single letter of the alphabet, in red, in my hand but not in my telephone notation scrawl, the one I use when I'm hurriedly parcelling up a day when I'm on a call. It was instead more elegant. I hadn't been rushed when I wrote it, I'd been thinking and considering, and that letter curved elegantly there, comfortable in its corner, written in red.

A red letter day, evidently.

I puzzled over it last week, tried to remember what I'd intended when I wrote it, tried to remember when I'd written it.

I drew a blank. Clearly it had meant something to me, at some point, meant enough that I wanted to set aside that day for something.

A single letter. The letter "N."

No one in our family has that initial and it didn't signify any club or activity or doctor that I could pinpoint. Eventually, I left it, and went on to the other things that I needed to do.

Days later, it came to me, what that letter represented and I knew then that I written it down back in December when I'd been setting down the first plans for the new year, before Christmas, before everything changed. The initial stood for a city, a promise to myself, a half-formed plan that never saw light of day.

Ghost-like, a single letter of the alphabet, now little more than a warning that life can change at the speed of light.

Go listen to some good music: "One Stage Before" from the album Year of the Cat by Al Stewart.

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