Nearly a year ago, I was dreaming of the Pacific Northwest. I’d stir in the night, reeling from images of gentle rain and dense forests and cool, misty air in my Southern lungs. Of course I’d been there for just a moment–just a flash in the larger scheme of life. But as I flew home from that fateful trip last September, I vowed to return one day–for no other reason than because
“What a wonderful thought it is that some of the best days of our lives haven’t happened yet.”
They sit close, beneath the branches of a sprawling oak tree.
Inside, live music rattles the walls, but out back on a small, wooden bench in the summer moonlight, it is quiet.
When I close my eyes, breathe deeply and imagine my happy place, it’s this.
Always, always, it is this.
Last week, I found my luggage tag from a long-ago trip.
Rifling through my collection of bags, I reached a green duffel at the bottom of the stack.
Oh yes, I thought. I forgot about this one.
I have no idea what he’ll look like or what he’ll do or even how we’ll meet. Maybe I’ll say the wrong thing and he’ll step on my toes when we first spin around a dance floor. Maybe he’ll grin and trip over words when all he means to say is I want your number with a desire that knocks the wind out of me. Maybe he won’t wait three days to call and maybe my past will cloud my trust. Maybe one kiss, and then two, will cure it.
We sit, knee to knee. Coffee for him. Beer for me, because everything happened so long ago.
“I nearly threw up when I asked for your number,” he jokes.
“I remember,” I say, grinning at the thought. “It was–”
“–endearing,” I correct. “I found it utterly endearing.”
“Yeah, but no one would find that endearing now.”
I pause. “I would.”
“Well,” he says, turning his cup around, “that’s because you’re a special kind of girl.”
This weekend, I took a trip.
A small, two-night trip with my three best friends.
Best friends isn’t quite the right term, but it’s a convenient placeholder. Emily likes to call us soul siblings, which I think is far more accurate. Family by choice, connected at the core of our beings until death do us part.
Coffee cups, dozens. Writers sipping on morning hellos.
All of us, every single one, waiting for trade secrets.
Edge of our seats. Scribbling into notebooks. The presentation begins.
I clutch a beer bigger than my own face. I promise to drink slowly. Won’t get carried away.
A pair of hazel eyes watch me, considering. The plastic cup in my hand breaks into a cold sweat.
“What do you do? For fun?” he asks.
I laugh. This is the part I hate. The pleasantries. The prerequisites. The lines we must speak to match the way our fingers suddenly tremble.
It’s been a whirlwind of a week.
Demanding customers, unforeseeable slip-ups, and a splash of family tension make for what you might call utter insanity.
Add to that a heaping dose of postgraduate uncertainty and a pinch of ever-present doubt that I think lingers in the minds of most twenty-somethings, and I was in the thick of it.
Saying things I shouldn’t. Thinking things that are entirely untrue. Letting myself wander down the rabbit hole of negativity that the world can create so very easily.
This morning happened.