A Pipe Dream.

Via Ann Nichols
on Sep 5, 2013
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Photographer: Simon Upton
Photographer: Simon Upton

So I come upon this image and my heart beats faster, unbidden, because someone is living in the world I have crafted in the most secret vault of my heart.

The place to which I retreat in moments unbearable.

I imagine myself living just so, with books and a typewriter, working two jobs that pay my rent and buy books, and fruit, and good dark chocolate, and maybe a tiny kitchen with one pan, one plate, one glass and an old enamel tea kettle—sky blue.

A Room of One’s Own but I will not walk into the water with pockets full of stones. I will live abundantly and miss nothing. Not a thing.

I shop at thrift stores, and when the moon is full I throw open my window and play “Madame Butterfly” so loud that the Fly Me To The Moon & Let Me Play Among The Stars (36/52)downstairs neighbor bangs on his ceiling with something; maybe a broom.





because how is it that I am so old, really so very old when inside of myself I am so very young?

I squandered youth, wasted it on fear and tightness, rules and the imagined disapproval of my wildest imaginings. I want so little, piles of books, a vintage quilt—the postage stamp kind made out of feed sacks and cherished by someone who also had nothing—and paper and colored pencils, and a painting from a jumble sale. Old photographs of no one I know, abandoned, lost, found by my boundless heart and cherished as they should have been all these many years.

I want so much, the eternity to watch dust motes in a shaft of sunlight, forming unions and moving apart. The ease of knowing that no one is watching; the abandonment of possessions that do not bring me joy.

On nights when I am not working I go to free chamber music concerts and walk home humming, wearing a gauzy Indian skirt with hundreds of tiny mirrors that flash beneath the street lights. I have a small balcony, and it is dangerously heavy with pots of herbs, marjoram, basil, rosemary for remembrance, and lavender to lean into and find peace.

Also there is a small movie house showing foreign films and after I see “Jules et Jim” I make myself a sandwich of bread and chocolate—my own pain au chocolat—and eat it extraordinarily slowly with a cracked cup of tea that bears a single faded rose.

And I love the people in this life I have, and I would never wish them away. But this other world lives so vividly just under my dependable surface, beneath the graying hair, the skin on my arms turning to crepe. Light years past the time to live so small, and so vast a life as I imagine in that room filled with books and light and infinite possibility and




do I make room for that girl with the teacup, who can take an hour to eat a single, splendid orange?

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Assist Ed: Dana Gornall/Ed: Sara Crolick

Photo Credit: Pixoto


About Ann Nichols

Ann Nichols has been everything from a cellist to a lawyer, and is currently a Buddhist who gets paid to cook at a Protestant church. She lives in a 100-year old house in Michigan with her husband, her son and an improbable number of animals. You can hang out with her by joining the Facebook group “Metta-Morphosis.”


6 Responses to “A Pipe Dream.”

  1. Elizabeth says:

    This is so beautiful. I too dream of that room and that life at times. I love my family, I like a lot of my stuff, and yet…

  2. DIRNDL SKIRT says:

    So evocative and vivid a lament…or promise? "Light years past the time to live so small, and so vast a life as I imagine" : I hope not. I'd like to think a life comes full circle.

  3. Melissa says:


  4. imagineannie says:

    Thanks so much, Elizabeth. Maybe we just need a little bit of this in our lives, a wild woman break…………..

  5. imagineannie says:

    Ah, a lament AND a promise. I'm not going anywhere, but I'm hoping to bring some of that girl into this life to make it a little vaster.

  6. imagineannie says:

    Melissa, you can come with us….:-)