Before leaving Amsterdam, I stopped by a canal hugging the red-light district. I sat against a tree and let my feet hang over the edge. I’d enjoyed a spliff at a shop not far away and felt just fine.
Hundreds of boats passed, and I watched the people on them, happy and mesmerizing in the sun. Most drank wine or cocktails from table setups in the center of the boats similar to fancy dinner parties.
The street across the canal was lined with coffee shops. Patrons sat outside imbibing, and occasionally, music from inside drifted into the street. Everything felt warm, and I wished it weren’t just me.
Beyond the shops, down an alley, a dim red bulb burnt against the daylight. I sat there for a long time. It pained me I had a flight to catch. It really was very hard to leave.
I crossed a bridge and started down a side street before looking back. My spot under the tree had been taken by a young couple, holding each other, watching the boats.
Wilson Koewing is a writer from South Carolina. His work is forthcoming in Gargoyle, Bending Genres, JMWW and The Loch Raven Review.
image: Lindsay Hargrave