The Perfect Day
You see, nothing momentous happened. Nothing great fell out of the sky. No alcohol was involved. No male and that first flush of love came anywhere near this glorious time. In fact, I doubt I can explain to you what made it so awesome, so amazing, so fabulous. All I know is that when I think back upon it, I smile and feel....well, good.
My friend Tasia had a beachhouse on the Florida coast. Well, her family owned the beachhouse at any rate. They bought the house in need of repair, but nothing intense. Instead, it was mostly minor touchups here and there that it needed, and it also needed a lot of paint. I had no handywoman skills, but I COULD paint. So, Tasia and I went with her family to the place for a week with the knowledge that the first two days would involve slave labor; after that, we'd have the time to do what we wanted and hang out on the beach.
The second day of painting was our last day, and after finishing up the outside porch before the midday heat overcame us, we scampered inside to eat a simple lunch of sandwiches, fruit, and chips. There was joking and teasing with her two brothers, and then we all went out for a swim. Afterwards, we each grabbed a coke from the refrigerator and headed back outside to the two hammocks that swung lazily between a bunch of palm trees, a nicely shaded and slightly breezy area.
At first we talked--a smattering of words here and there meant to reassure the other that company was appreciated, but slowly the sounds and syllables broke down to silence as language became inadequate to express the experience of that afternoon. Slurping noisily that last swig of coke, I then hung a foot out over my hammock, tossing the can on the sand and crushing it with my back heel. I giggled, feeling the sticky coolness of a few of the last drops of the soda smacking against my skin. Tasia looked over to me slowly, a half-smile on her face as she then turned back to sling a well-tanned arm over her eyes. My leg remained, dangling, over the rope as I swung back and forth, the coke can hanging from my foot like a high-heeled shoe. I felt that gentle breeze, just enough air caressing my skin to lessen the heat of the sun which stabbed through the palm leaves in shards of light. In our companionable silence, nothing needed to be said because neither one of us wanted to break the moment. Whoever spoke first would shatter it into the void, a new moment starting that could not possibly be as perfect as that one we experienced together yet apart, our hammocks showing their grogginess about the midday heat by swaying ever so slowly. I could feel some sand between my toes, the sun heating up my skin, my muscles tingling from all the painting I had done, the salt water drying my hair in clumps.
I can't imagine a more perfect moment.
Since that moment, I can point out flashes in time I treasure too, but for different reasons. This was the one moment when my happiness and peace was not connected to children, a lover, my siblings, my parents, my friends. It was me, blending in with all that was around me, feeling a part of everything and not separate or different at all. I can never forget it. And if I don't forget it, I think that even in my darkest times, I'll be able to find joy through the smallest details: a Godiva chocolate, a child's laugh, a good slice of cheese, a cat to pet. People define success in a myriad of ways, but for me, success is the capability of being happy. It's a rare gift, and I'm grateful to possess it.