Anything to get away from here, that’s what she would give.
Lucky collected travel magazines filled with velvet hills like sheets of folded fondant and clear waters dotted with candy coloured fish flashing like jewelry on smooth blue cleavage. Sheep grazed in front of castles made haphazard with dilapidation, and women strolled down cobblestone streets in improbable heels like stilt walkers picking their way across pebbled beaches.
The magazines were stacked in precarious columns against the living room wall underneath the big window, organized according to featured destination. So far Mexico was in the lead; a good six inches taller than Australia and stretching a foot above South East Asia. Just recently she divided up Europe and the United Kingdom because they kept toppling to the ground, too tall to be structurally sound.
Her days were hard and beige, bones without flesh. Lucky knew with a certainty that nestled in her guts like a rat in a pile of socks that 'somewhere else' was where she was supposed to be. Somewhere else was where the days would be filled in with smell, sound and texture. Somewhere else was where her life was waiting. She searched the pages of her magazines to find this life, certain that it would be neatly labeled, spelt out in black letters underneath a bright photograph of cliffs melting into the sea like slabs of white sugar, where houses were painted pink and green, where the sky was so bright it hurt your eyes to look at it. It would be called ‘Lucky’s Cove, New Brunswick’ or ‘Coeur de Chance, Monaco’.
Of course, her grandmother would happily pack for the nursing home; they’d drop off the wretched cat at the Humane Society on the way. It'd give Lucky the stare of death with its one eye as they drove away, leaving it on the sidewalk in front of the shelter with a water bowl and a ziplock of kibbles. Lucky wouldn’t care.
“Au revior chat mauvais!” She would wave out the window, flipping him off one last time before burly staff members in clean white uniforms carried it inside.
When she stepped off the plane the air would be warm and fragrant, the people attractive and polite. She would be invited to dinner, offered jobs and shown a charming house needing a woman’s touch. The elderly owner would gladly give it to her if only she would promise to care for it, being without any heirs, as it were.
She’d grow gardens of lush flowers that smelt like homemade soup and complicated perfume. She’d put out an ad for a handyman in the local newspaper, someone who could help her install a fence around her burgeoning gardens and the man who answered it would appear on her doorstep, naked from the waist up and oiled down, tool belt dangling from angular hips. They would fall in love over a long summer full of meaningful glances and awkward discussions about wood and hammering. Their children would be smart and precocious with golden limbs and superior intelligence.
Anything and everything. That’s what she would give.
Of course, those were the days before the world cracked open like a skull and everything she knew to be true and real spilled out like alphabet soup.