We’re lying on a bench outside, soaking up some late morning Texas sun. Staring through the branches overhead, hand thrown over face, I tilt my head towards her after several long minutes and ask, “Can we go back to the part where a day was just a day?”
She smiles and I know she knows what I mean.
Back to the part where a day was just a day and everything in it only lasted for one day. Where everything in it wasn’t pushing you towards some bigger goal, some urgent deadline, something, always something nagging at you, reminding you, that you had more to do tomorrow. And the next day.
Sometimes, you forgot to remember that the moments of a day were important because they all only felt like stepping stones or the space between mile markers. A way to get you to wherever it is you ultimately needed to go.
After spending the last few years of my life in training of one sort or another, I’ve forgotten what it’s like when a day was just a day. Not a push towards the next thing. Not a step in the process. Not a means to an end.
Just a day.
Filled with moments, small and insignificant, that matter. When Sunday wasn’t that last day before Monday and the long week ahead. It was just Sunday.
I sit up and say, “I remember when I was younger, not even a kid, just younger than I am now, I used to want to chase the sunsets every night.”
She leans back, one hand on the bench and gives me a quizzical look. “What do you mean?”
“You know that place where it looks like the sun touches the earth and dips behind it? I used to picture being able to find that space and seeing this absolute explosion of light and color and if I got to that place quick enough, I’d be able to see it.”
Her face softens and she nods. “Yeah, I think I thought that, too, for a while.”
I curl my arms around my knees and think back to that. “Can we go back to that, too?”
And she smiles at me, a knowing, kind of sad smile. Because we both know we can’t go back to that.
To when days are just days, not space between mile markers. To when you chase sunsets to find the color explosion and not just mark the end of another day to lead to the beginning of another. We can’t go back.
But she tips her head towards the sun where the branches dapple the light across her face and says, “At least right now, we have this.”
This bench where we can sit and soak up the sunshine. For a few fleeting moments, the press of duty and tomorrow a vague thought. This right now is just a moment. Not a mile marker. Not a check mark. Not something to get through to get to something else. It’s a moment. Nothing more, nothing less.
And all we can do is take enough time to enjoy it. So we do.