I remember the first time I thought of the idea for the novel I'm currently working on. It seems like yesterday, yet a thousand years ago. Strange, the passage of time...
It was a weekend, I think, because I don't remember anyone else being around as I was walking, and Cork was always empty on the weekends. Somedays it was heaven and somedays it was hell due to this reason. I was wearing my gym clothes because I'd been jogging that morning, or maybe planned to go jogging later during the day.
Weekends were always my favorite times in Ireland. They were my lonliest times becuase I was always alone but I had a lot of time to think. I would walk all day most of the time, up and down the town. I liked to discover new roads and remember the beauty of old ones I had already walked down. I would usually leave between 8AM and 10AM to go to breakfast. I always went to the same place, Tony's Bistro. It was my reward to myself for getting through another week. I always got the same thing, an egg, beans in tomato sauce, hash browns, tomatos, toast and a little pot of tea. Afterwards I would sometimes get groceries or go look at comics in the comic book store.
Later in the day I would often head to school to check my e-mail and look at online comics. Sometimes I would write in my diary online. The days were long and slow. I remember the quiet of the computer labs and I remember the peaceful walks where I would smile at people in hopes that they would smile back. I usually took the uphill way home because it was shorter and I could walk through the neighborhoods various ways if I wanted to do so. I'm sure I looked weird, just exploring the neighborhoods, observing the plants and the days.
This particular day, I remember as special. A sentence came into my head while I was in the computer lab and it wouldn't go away so I wrote it down and left the labs. I remember the thousands of shades of green as I walked home and the old gray fences and the low gray clouds in the sky. I remember the sunlight and the gates that were black and peeling, the metal bars on some of the fences, also peeling back paint. I remember the old, moldy houses on the walk away from the school. I remember the stores on the other side, one in particular which I usually stopped in to get a soda or a snack, or both. I looked at the paper again and I remembered a book I had seen with a snow leopard on the cover and a phrase popped into my head, "chasing the snow leopard".
I hadn't felt so inspired for years. I remember smiling and laughing aloud, writing down ideas as I walked. I knew this story would be it. This story would be my novel. It would be like a lover, my first. A year later, it is. It's still like a lover, a mystery that I continue to learn more about, and although it may not be important to anyone else in years to come, may never even be known, it will always be in memory, in my heart; it will always be my first, and I always want to remember that day in Ireland when we first met and I fell in love with a dream.