On the morning of my twenty-first birthday, my alarm went off at 6:45am. Most people would love to spend their birthday sleeping in, but I had decided I was not going to do that this year. I was going to celebrate my birthday differently.
While the rest of my family slept, I got up, picked out one of my favourite vintage style dresses, did my makeup, put my hair up and put my jewellery on. I left the house and walked up to the train station, the emptiness of the streets allowing the sun to glow uninterrupted on people’s front lawns.
The train carriage into town was also relatively empty – not a surprise for a Sunday morning. I rode the train in silence, not even daring to listen to music on the way like I normally would. I had big plans for the first song I was going to listen to on my twenty-first birthday.
I got off at Town Hall and walked straight into the Queen Victoria Building, heading straight for the little bakery at the entrance. I ordered a pastry and a coffee, and took my spoils with me as I walked from the QVB down George St. Being as dressed up as I was for an early Sunday morning stroll down a rather abandoned George St, I expected the looks I got from people. But I didn’t let it phase me. I was going to have my moment, no matter what.
Walking up Martin Place, my heart started to thump faster. This was it. I could see my destination just across Castlereagh St. As the crossing light turned green, I noticed the large group of people congregated on the corner of the building, noticed them looking at me in one of my best dresses with a jewelled clip in my hair and my most comfortable pair of heels on.
But I ignored them as I approached the building, turning around and sitting on the front stairs. I put in my headphones and pressed play on Henry Mancini.
Tiffany’s. I was having Breakfast at Tiffany’s.
I sat there as Moon River played in my ears and ate my pastry, sipping my coffee in between bites. One of the men in the group pointed at me and said to the people next to him:
“Look, she’s having breakfast at Tiffany’s. She’s even all dressed up and everything.”
I couldn’t help myself. I smiled.
After finishing my pastry, I put the paper bag in the bin on the pathway and took my coffee with me up to the windows. The night before, my Mum had said that she didn’t think they kept anything in the windows when the store was closed, but I was surprised to see that behind the open window grates, there were impressive window displays still visible. I walked up and down the length of the building, peering in all the windows and through to the displays further inside the store. Moon River still playing, I soaked in the moment. This was the one thing I had wanted for my twenty-first birthday – to have this moment in front of Tiffany’s.
And then, just as the final bars of Moon River echoed through me, I saw it. The portrait of Audrey Hepburn smiling across at me from the opposite side of the store. The woman who had made me want to come and to do this. Everything had clicked perfectly into place.
And standing there, with the sun warm on my back and Audrey smiling at me from across the room, I was full of pure happiness.
© Hayley New 2016