You know the ones I mean, the moments that make you smile and remind you about all that was good in your youth.
I have one particular moment that I’ve always returned to over the years, one that made me feel like a million bucks.
It was my senior year in college, and I was dating a pretty great guy. Nick was cute, muscular, intelligent and funny, but he also had a very important job in his fraternity. He was the beer guy. (Sure, he might have had a long, important title but the bottom line was that he was the party planner. Aka the beer guy.)
The fraternity was hosting another Friday night “celebration”, and I was going to meet him in the basement of the frat house before the “guests” all arrived. I had taken particular care getting ready that night, and was wearing a pair of heels I would KILL to be able to wear today. I walked down the stairs and smiled as I heard the loud voices of the brothers laughing and carrying on.
I got to the bottom and saw Nick behind the bar. He was holding a cold beverage in his hand as he turned to look my way. His blue eyes widened and an incredible smile stretched across his face. He threw his full beverage over his shoulder, reached for me and bent me over for a kiss.
It was a moment I’ll never forget.
We’ve corresponded a bit over the last year or so- sharing friendly inquiries and some funny stories. Then I received an email from him Sunday morning saying that he would be in Smithfield Oregon THAT DAY to attend a basketball game with friends. Would I be able to stop by the university to say hi?
I knew that he was in a great, serious relationship with someone, and I am embarking on a lovely relationship with Mr. Darcy. This meeting was going to be one between old friends who hadn’t seen each other in thirty years. There were no hopes, illusions or crazy expectations for anything other than a friendly meeting. But there were a few butterflies.
We spent only a handful of moments chatting, catching up as quickly as we could before he had to return to his friends, but they were lovely. I saw the man he had grown into and knew that his mother would have been very proud. He was still handsome and his eyes were just as blue, but he was a bit more serious than I remember, the carefree smile and easy laughter tucked away for another day I suppose. As we were chatting I thought about how life had beaten and battered us both along the way, in addition to giving us each incredible gifts in the form of children. (It's a trade-off in some ways, isn't it?)
I drove away smiling as I thought of our days of youth…and wished I had thanked him for that very precious memory I carry around. The one I take out every now and then when I need to be reminded of the beautiful, joyful, carefree days.
And lately, on these crazy days while I am still fighting for my life, I need those memories. They are keeping me warm.