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I brush my fingers across the touch-worn grain of heavy oak doors until they reach the icy brass handle. I grasp it and a shiver anticipation runs through me. On the other side is the one indulgence I allow myself to have in an otherwise austere life. Work, work, and more work was how every day went, but the night… Ah, the night was mine to enjoy and I intend to do just that

I pull aside the barrier that separates me from temptation, and saunter into the dim-lit room. There they are—my loves—waiting in lines to discover who I would choose. My decision dictated only by mood and whim.

I inhale deeply of a scent like no other and smile. This was where a million different versions of myself collided. Where I could choose to be whatever I wanted and no one dared to question it.

I walk to the small round table and turn on the lamp that illuminates little more than crystal decanter and the single glass beside it. I pop the glass top and pour a small measure to sip as I contemplate what I wanted for this night—and most likely something to the last the next few as well. It was a rare night when I was finished so quickly.

Sharp liquid fire burns my throat and I relish the feeling. A reminder that I am still alive, that I can feel things. A grandfather clock ticks away the passing seconds, reminding me of the growing hour. Even my free time has a schedule that must be kept. My eyes drift over the waiting choices. Was it time for something new and exciting or should I choose the safe and familiar?

It was conundrum every time. I found myself indecisive as I walk the line, occasionally stopping to inspect a potential companion. None seemed right. It had been a hard day, one full of both triumph and disappointment. I want something special, something different. I need something that is both familiar and exciting. An adventure reminding me of my wonderous youth; of spring days laying in the sun beneath a tree, happy and content. And something with that would give me the excitement of the unexpected. Get my blood rushing and my heart beating at a furious pace.

Such a rare and delicate combination. My lips curl in a smile as I realize exactly what I am after. I stride to other side of the room where the favourites that I savour on the rainy days of life call home. I close my eyes, reach out, and pull one to me. It’s only then that I look to see what I have, though there are no wrong choices here. If I find tonight unsatisfying, I will simply return tomorrow and try again.

And yet, as my fingers trace that familiar curve the spine, I know that this will satisfy me to my very core. I stroke the cover my chosen book, a long-forgotten favourite of my youth. It has everything I want, everything I need. Tonight, I would dive back into a time where anything seemed possible.

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