Crickets’ chirping always gives me a contented feeling, probably because it reminds me of summer and of home. Hot sunlight, the last rays grazing our sunburns as the giant star sinks below the horizon. Golden light leaks into the lake, settling just below the surface. We break the golden mirror with the prow of our boat. Everything is infused with the warmth of the long day. The seats in the boat burn our thighs when we first sit down so we splash a little water on them from the lake to cool down the material. We're full from dinner: salad, then green beans with mashed potatoes and a full glass of red Kool-Aid. Dessert was a couple chocolate chip cookies grabbed from the plastic jar as we ran out of the sliding glass doors to join our friends and coaches in the boat.
Everything in this little town seems peaceful. A few cars drive slowly around the lake, heading home. A small group of people fish off the pier.
I feel the kind of fullness and happiness that comes from being surrounded by friends and appreciation. My heart is spilling over with joy! With every beat energy and light and contentedness and health spreads from the top of my head down to my toes, filling all the places in between. I can feel my hair on my back, long and heavy. My eyes are bright and clear and blue, my skin is tanned, cheeks pink from the sun. The muscles in my knees and back are flexible and strong.
Later, after the sun has set and the boats are taken out of the water and wiped down, after everyone has changed out of their bathing suits and combed their hair, we sit around in white plastic chairs in the backyard. Tiki torches keep most of the mosquitoes away, and we’re grateful for that as we sit and talk. We laugh and joke and tell stories about the past as we wonder aloud about the future.
We’re suspended in the summer air like a group of glowing fireflies, the warm wind keeping us afloat. There’s nothing to do except call home if we feel like it, or maybe get dressed up and go into the city. But most likely we’ll hang out in the backyard by the lake until late at night, and then we’ll go to bed.
I’ll go to bed with him, of course. I do everything slowly and carefully: opening the door into the room, brushing my teeth, fixing my hair, changing into my pajamas. I want to make these moments last as long as possible; they’re precious to me. He holds back the thin sheet for me and I slip into bed, quickly making myself comfortable. My body is tired and happy from today, just like my thoughts.
Butterflies are winging around in my stomach as he gets into bed next to me. He fills me up like a good meal. I am so content watching his movements: the shifting of his shoulders as he settles into the mattress, the contrast of his brown skin against the cheap flowery sheets. I am like an infant during my first day of life, so naïve, so hopeful for our future.
Perhaps what we have will end tomorrow, perhaps it will last for thirty years... but I know nothing lasts forever. This I have come to accept, which is why I cherish every moment with sincerity and joy. It is why I speak nothing but the truth, because although one day we may utter our goodbyes, the way we made each other feel, will be remembered forever.