Have you ever had one of those perfect days? A few perfect moments even? Just a little space of time where everything came together and all was as it should be? A few moments that stay with you forever, the perfection of it, the mundane details so easy to recall should you ever need to remember a little happiness?
I have had three that really stand out. The first was when I was young, maybe 11 years old. The third was just barely a week ago...driving around with my love with the top down, unusually beautiful weather for early January, the sunlight just right, the sense of contentment...all mingled together to create one of those sublime memories.
The creation of this new perfect moment reminded me of my others. This is the story of the second...
It was Christmas Day, 1999. I had graduated from college in North Carolina, moved back home to Sarasota, worked in retail, bought a car, and moved back to North Carolina all in the space of about a year. I was in Sarasota visiting for the holidays. I was always a little torn about being back “home,” even for a visit. It didn’t really feel like home anymore, but I still missed it sometimes.
I had gone to visit my best friend from high school for a bit and exchange gifts. I honestly have absolutely no recollection of what I got her that year, but I think I will remember what she got me for the rest of my life.
We got caught up, had a glass of wine, visited with her family, and opened our presents. She got me two things: a pair of gorgeous wine glasses, the stems wrapped in brightly colored beads, and the new David Gray CD. I was somewhat obsessed with him at the time, and not just because he came highly recommended by Dave Matthews. This was in the days before iPods and iTunes; I relied solely on my large collection of actual CD’s for musical entertainment. (Remember CD’s? Actual CD’s with cover art and liner notes?).
Anyway, we said our goodbyes and I made my way back to my mother’s house. I can’t remember why or how I managed it, but I had a few minutes to myself. My mother must have been out, because there is no way I would have managed a half an hour to myself with music blaring and without her hovering presence otherwise.
I opened a bottle of red wine, poured some into one of my new gorgeous wine glasses, put on my new CD and went out to the back porch. It was one of those magical “winter” late afternoons that only a South Florida climate could provide: breezy, not too chilly, and it was almost as if there was something in the air that made everything sweeter. The sunlight and the wind filtered through the palm trees. I sat on the porch that afternoon and developed a perfect wine buzz while I listened to my new CD and smoked copious amounts of cigarettes. I let the music and the breeze and the wine wash over me and for a little while everything was absolutely perfect. I have a vivid mental picture of myself sitting there in that white plastic chair...my eyes are closed, my head is moving with the music, cigarette and wine glass upheld in the same hand, a blissful smile.
I still have those wine glasses, I still have that CD, and I still have that beautiful memory. For a few minutes everything was perfect. In those few minutes I had hope and peace and perfection. I still have that, and I carry a little piece of it with me always. Sometimes, when the wind is just right, or a I hear a David Gray song, I close my eyes and I’m instantly transported back there to that little space of time.
I’m starting to recognize more and more of those perfect moments. It makes me hopeful, light, happy...it would seem my inner optimist is coming out of the closet, if you will. It really is amazing what you can learn about yourself when you take the time to pay attention. Sometimes it hurts, sometimes it just opens your eyes...