Anne-Fleur’s alarm went off a few times before she finally woke up. She must have been the oldest person awake at that hour. She made her way out of bed with no thoughts of going back in. She had tossed the idea of sleeping in a while ago. Time was very important at her age. She would have enough time to sleep when she was gone. She would first have to live everyday like it would be her last.
She put on her morning playlist and got ready. It included all the best early 2000 music. It was a hundred times better than the music people listen to nowadays. She cranked up the sound.
Anne-Fleur entered her kitchen. She loved the way the new appliances sparkled as the morning sun beamed through the windows in the living room. They were the windows she had always dreamed of having. The floor to ceiling kinds that look out on the canals and the rest of the city. She made herself a waffle and her favorite apple cinnamon tea.
Before she headed out, she took her sketchbook and put it in her bag. She never traveled without it. She grabbed her umbrella and hurried out the door.
It was only a 15 minute walk to the art gallery. The art gallery that she had always wanted to open. After the arthritis in her hand had made it harder to draw, she felt like she needed to still be surrounded by art. She displayed her old artwork along with some famous others. Her gallery had been labeled one of the most visited one in the city.
Later that day, at 4:30 in the afternoon. It was time for Anne-Fleur to go home. She closed down the gallery for the day and walked into the warm air of summer.
As she walked, she looked just like she always had, full of joy. Nothing could ruin her mood. Her grayish white hair tied up in a bun. Her clothes never dull. She was not the typical old woman.
Anne-Fleur never thought she would be living here. She never thought she would leave New York for Amsterdam. However, she did. She moved back to the city and would not have it any other way. The city was her origin. It had been her home since the very beginning. She felt safe in the city. That she was always meant to come back.
The cobblestone streets reminded her of the ones she had walked down 60 years before. With her mom’s hand in hers, they made their way home with only an umbrella protecting them from the pouring rain. It also reminded her of her sisters being there. They kept on telling her not to stand too close to the edge of the canals. What would they do if she fell in?
Anne-Fleur missed them, but plane tickets were too expensive. She would just have to wait for the summer.
She walked over a cobblestoned street next to a canal like the one in her memory. The difference is, she is now alone. Alone, but with the image of her mother walking beside her. She smiled and strolled along the canal. She stopped and looked down at the water. In it, she saw her reflection. Her appearance still reminded her of her small six year old self. Other than her height, wrinkled skin and her hair, she had not changed much. Her appearance may have matured, but she had never felt younger.
She continued down the street until she reached the final canal house that belonged to her.
That night, before she turned off the lights, Anne-Fleur thought of how lucky she was. She had been traveling for so long and has finally found a place where she belonged. She has been able to share her love for art in the city she was born to love.
She turned off all the lights and fell asleep with the safety that she finally had a sense of belonging.