It was a perfect afternoon in New York City. It was the end of another cycle, the end of the beginning. They pointed to an area when they entered the park and then proceeded toward it. When they reached the spot they noticed an area a little deeper, blanketed by an array of trees appearing as a private quarter. It was their own little piece of the earth. It sat there patiently waiting for a pair of lovers just like them to come and occupy it’s empty space for a while.
When they reached their spot, she pulled out a burgundy sheet and tossed it across the grass; it scattered like a collection of autumn leaves. He sat down his bag and then took the opposite ends of the sheet and helped her blanket the ground beneath them. She stood up satisfied and then removed her red flip flops and crawled on to what could’ve been a magic carpet, she never knew when it came to this boy.
But he wasn’t really a boy anymore, was he? Time and life had caressed and decorated him with experience and knowledge. He wasn’t a boy, expect for in his charm and in his smile.
“It’s such a lovely day for the park,” she sighed. They plotted their spots on the burgundy sheet and then went about removing their books, computer, notepad and adult coloring book from their bags. They both suffered from overactive brains and they shared a mutual addiction to creativity.
She stretched out onto her stomach and rested her head on her hand. She stared out among the blades of grass, which from eye level, looked like a sprawling field of endless greenery. Mr. Softy began singing his favorite song from a distance. A siren hummed along from afar. The cars slowly buzzed through the neighborhood streets. The sounds of nature decided to join in on the melody. The buzzers hiding in the tall trees contributed, as did the falling leaves escaping their home, tumbling to the feet of the marching squirrels. She inhaled deeply and appreciated that for the moment everything else had disappeared.
She felt escaped from the world; a world that has come to be in constant turmoil. She fled the reminders of shootings, killings and the other acts of hate that happen every day and seem to be increasing at an alarming frequency. She managed to momentarily disappear from of all the sickness and sadness that plagues the earth and its residents daily. She let go of her own fears and anxieties; she let go and she just was.
The girl sat up having decided that it was time to toast the glory around her: the beautiful day, the festivities of nature and the handsome figure typing away beside her. She pulled out a bottle of Merlot that they had purchased on their trek over and went about uncorking it. She removed the cups and poured the wine. She lifted it to her nose and took in the scent – then sipped – allowing the liquid to run through her like a rolling stream.
It was hard to believe that another summer had come and now gone; this was it, the final days, the ceremonial end of the season. It was hard not to reminisce on how much things had changed from one summer to the next. She remembered her feelings at that exact time last year. She remembered the fear and excitement felt in the light of her newfound freedom.
She’d learned so much about herself in a year. Suddenly she knew what made her happy and what made her sad. She learned what her favorite meals were. She learned how to ask herself what she wanted. And she learned how to answer that same question. She was a new woman, though, if you asked her, she’d probably still refer to herself as a girl.
The girl continued to sip from her red paper cup; she was pleased she’d sprung for a nicer bottle. Not a fancy one, but slightly nicer than what she typically purchases on her girlhood budget. But she deserved this nice bottle – it’d been a helluve a year – and she’d come out on top of it.
She thought back on the past year and a smile escaped her cheeks as she reminisced on the loveliest part of it. She stole another quick look at the lovely suitor working beside her.
It felt like being lost in a glorious forest filled with colorful trees and blossoming flowers; whistling streams; and all of the magic you’ve ever imagined – and only the two of them existed there – as it turns out, they weren’t lost, they’d been heading there all along.
The girl watched him as he remained stowed away in his own cabin of creativity. She rolled over and reached for her phone and then turned back to him. She basked for a moment in all of his glory as the rays of sunlight fought their way through the trees just to touch him. Then she pressed her finger on the screen and began snapping photos of him.
He didn’t notice at first, but slowly became cognoscente of each moment she captured. He raised his eyebrows and offered her some attention out of the corner of his eye. Then he gave her a slight side grin and paired it with a What silly thing are you doing now? kind of look.
She knew she loved him because she even loved his feet. She’d long ago self-diagnosed herself with a foot phobia. They were gross, dirty and disgusting; she wanted no part in anyone else’s, except for puppy paws, they were the exception. As was he . . . she even loved his feet. That meant something. She loved every inch of him. That’s how she knew it was special.
That’s not to say she hadn’t known special feelings before, she had. But the woman she was now was not the girl she’d been a year ago. They didn’t share the same capacity to love. She’d known special before, but this was a special kind of special. It made the whole world feel different.
It was his ambition that she found most beautiful. She’d never met a mate equally as driven and passionate as herself. But they were by no means cut from the same cloth. He was a tough Yankee with what seemed at times like a titanium core. She was sweet Southerner with thick skin and a soft heart. In many ways they were opposites. She was fueled by sunshine, he was fueled by rain. Perhaps they brought each other balance and that’s why life felt so even.
She felt him move and then suddenly his head pressed against the small of her back. He began rolling around on her in a playful manner. “I’m going to read!” he declared. She nodded and smiled then went back to writing on her yellow notepad. Her pen kept going until it felt compelled to stop. These words didn’t belong on paper, but to him.
She turned toward him and reached out, running her fingers along his forearm.
“I love you,” she said.
“I love you too. This is a great way to spend a Sunday, especially when you don’t have to work the next day.”
Then he reached for his book and returned his head to her lower back. She felt his warmth and energy moving from his skin to her own and she inhaled deeply trying to take in all of the loveliness around her. He disappeared into his world of Greek Literature and she returned to her own words. And in that manner they carried on, enjoying their afternoon in the park.