Cécile Cristofari’s story “All We Ever Look For” was published in Metaphorosis on Friday, 8 January 2021.
Kate Bush is one of a handful of musicians I started listening to as a teen and still swear by today, in particular because of her fearless approach to sound, her ability to take noise and turn it into music. In one of her songs, you can hear a person in high heels walking across a room, opening a window, and listening to birdsong, then opening another and listening to chanting, then to cars… This song was the original inspiration for this story, though the lyrics have nothing to do with what I wrote; the title I chose was a tribute to it.
But what inspired the core of my story was a two-year spell in Québec City, working as a researcher after completing my PhD. The experience of navigating a North American city without a car, the exacting demands of my budding academic career, loneliness, homesickness (though I met some of my dearest friends there), but also the exhilaration of being at a turning point in my life in a city I bonded with on a deep level, turned that period into an incredibly complex one. On many mornings, I woke up from dreams of escape, where I was flying away, or sailing, reclaiming a freedom I seemed to have lost somewhere in the race to build myself a future.
I did come home, eventually, and decided that life mattered more than a career. I’ve often wondered how much farther I could have escaped, if I had been given the chance. This story was born out of a tangle of emotions I haven’t completely made sense of. And that’s all right. We don’t need to make sense of everything in order to live our lives.
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