And it kind of went like this...
Sitting in the passenger seat, feet tucked underneath me, I watched the sun splice through the trees and chase over the hood of the car. The dress I wore was hiked up, barely covering my bits, but it was okay because I was wearing tights and my knees were pressed together anyhow. Even though the blazing sun heated the car, the window was rolled up, because when it was down the wind was too noisy. So, it was warm. Almost too warm. Moisture threatened to break out on my upper lip.
At the nape of my neck, random curls of hair played with the damp skin, slightly annoying, but also a reminder of the nap I had earlier in the day. Alone in the park, determined to do some edits on a story, I decided taking a snooze was more important. When the Sandman beckons, I listen. I woke up sweaty, grassy and with the imprint from my glasses pressed into my face. I didn't do much, just waited for the cute boy to get off work, but as I laid out under the sun, I felt at peace. Worry-free. Light and breezy. Like what a bird feels when gliding through the sky. The moment brought on this rush of contentment.
The joy of simply being.
Hot and slightly sticky, hair tousled, dress too short, shoes off, grass stains on my knees, I realized I was perfectly comfortable. There, in the car, holding hands, watching the scenery pass by, I was satisfied. With life. With love. With myself. There was not a dollop of self-conciousness or fear or anxiety. Instead of simply smiling to myself, I turned to the driver, the cute boy, and offered him a smirk. He was driving, so he probably missed it, but that's okay because my mind was in the middle of this hurly-burly anyhow.
That's when I had a flashback to the fist time I hopped into a car with a boy I'd never met. It just so happened to be the same boy. And to this day I find it curious that I completely disregarded everything I knew about Stranger Danger. Some might not think it any big deal, but you don't know how cautious I usually am. But for some reason, I threw all the hesitancy away and agreed to something I normally wouldn't. And now, if anyone ever asks me if they should take a twelve hour car ride with someone they've never met before, I'd say, "Probably not, but do it anyway."
Even though that first car ride was awkward and ridiculous, I'd do it over just the same. In a heartbeat. There I was, in the present - sweaty and comfortable - reflecting on our first car ride together, where I was sweaty and uncomfortable. It was a different car. A different time. A different place. But we were the same people, we just hadn't found our groove yet.
That groove, isn't it an interesting thing? It's when you reach this understanding with yourself and the other person that you can say and do as you please. Where anything goes. You may not know the person inside and out, or have the knowledge or love that comes with a decade long friendship, but you hit a stride that is easy and non-restrictive. That moment is very cool. When everything falls away and you're able to simply exist. To be.
The last couple months ticker taped through my head. A parade of moments. Words. Emotions. Wonder. Awe. Excitement. Uncertainty. And laughter. As the memories marched by, I thought about how things had changed, but how life had somehow remained the same. I was still me, with the same job and home. Same friends. But everything was still different.
And it's crazy how some people can fit into your life so quickly. How they can be a stranger one moment and in the next be someone you can't imagine not knowing. As the car sped down the Island Highway, I thought about all this and how life is funny. I even said it out loud. And he may have agreed and asked why I said it, but I couldn't very well explain my train of thoughts. I mean, could you imagine? He'd think me nuts. Or nuttier. So, I simply said, "It just is funny."
All I know is, life is funny. It is surprising. And adaptable. It shifts and moves. Changes without us realizing it. Without us giving it permission. It's riddled with choices and options. And sometimes you do something, completely out of your character, and you end up somewhere you never thought you'd be. The possibilities are endless and, just when you think you have it figured out, another mystery is revealed. A new journey starts.
In the moment, all hot and sweaty and a bit heavy hearted over going back to the mainland, I was genuinely happy. It was the kind of happiness that creeps up, wraps itself around you and squeezes until you take notice. It's a sneaky bugger, really. You don't realize it's there until you catch a glimpse of your reflection in a mirror and see you're smiling for no reason. Or when you sigh and there's nothing behind it but the incredible feeling of being at ease. And all you can do is think to yourself, life is funny.
And strange. So very strange.