Easy peasy. The one moment this year when I felt most alive this year was on an evening walk in May. Do you remember? Here is what I wrote about that night:
It was a balmy night, the kind of night you want to drink in gulps but can’t seem to swallow fast enough. The sun was just setting behind a plateau of red rocks, sending an offering of burnt yellow rays heavenward. A warm breeze flirted with the hem of my skirt and tugged at my hair lifting single strands like kites in a summer sky. The scent of late Spring blossoms danced along, teasing my taste buds with their sweetness. Quite simply, the air–dry and delicious–was alive. And so was I.
My senses intoxicated, I wanted to slow the seconds–to have time enough to breathe it all in and wrap it up with a beautiful bow for later opening and reopening.
“Do you want to go for a walk?” I asked. “Mm hmm,” he answered.
We started South and the yellow light soon bent beneath the deep pink clouds which then gave way to an indigo dusk. Quietly, he slid his hand into mine, lacing his fingers in that way that he does and said … “Tell me something. Something about you.”
I thought for a minute. Where do you begin when there’s no limit to the answers? Memories and images flowed with the smallest of details and timidly, I began.
He listened as I talked, asked questions when he wanted to know more, laughed at the funny parts, and rubbed his thumb back and forth over my hand when I cried because of how deeply I felt about what I was telling him. It was easy, this conversation. Easy to tell him things. Easy to be myself. Easy to walk beside him.
It was his turn next. To “tell me something.” We zig-zagged back and forth, up and down different blocks, talking and not talking, laughing, listening, hand in hand, stopping to smell every flower within reach, saying hello to the neighbors, watching the moon rise, large and full, pregnant with soft light on the horizon.
And only when the sky grew black with night did we turn to make our way back home. One star hung low and bright in the western sky. Crickets chirped from the gardens by the sidewalk. I looked at our shadows stretched out long in front of us and all I could think was, how much more content could I possibly be?
That relationship ended all of one month later. And though it was time for it to end, and though he wasn’t what I wanted for forever anyway, it was, I realize now, another loss. Another loss after my first significant loss. Looking back, I wonder … was that the tipping point for my life this year? The final drop in the bucket of disappointment that pushed me into this hazy, gray, tunnel of empty? I don’t know.
But I am reminded of another time when I felt that alive. Again, it revolved around a guy. And I wonder … What is that? Why is that? Am I that girl? Perhaps.
I’ve tried to deny the romantic in me for years, telling myself that practicality is the way to go. But the cold, hard truth is, love and romance make me feel alive. They feed the need I have inside to connect deeply with another human being. Admiration pushes me to new heights and when I love, romantically that is, I find myself being more and doing more.
No, I wasn’t in love with Brandon, but I cared deeply for him. And knowing he cared about me, even for the few short months we shared, filled me with life. That night under the orange sky was filled with all the romance this girl needed to feel every molecule of the moment, from the tips of my fingers to the soles of my feet. It was those 60 minutes, a mere 1/8760th of my entire year, when every cell was awake and full and alive.
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