When she walked through the door all I saw was the silhouette of her hair bouncing with a vibrant life that would continue to captivate me for years to come. I was intrigued and turned away from the television to give the newcomer my full attention. Then she stepped into the hallway where the light framed her smile and I was lost.
The smile didn’t start with her lips. The upturned corners tried to cage it, but nothing could. It surpassed the possible and began with her whole exuberant entrance. It spread through her limbs to squeeze the air from the room. It shone in her blue eyes with the warmth of an afternoon sky in the height of summer. It set her hair ablaze in the joy of escaping the work week and adventuring unknown roads in her resultant freedom.
I do not recall what happened next in absolutes. The days that followed are a blur of volleyball and laughter, food and drinks, and friends old and new. It was a delirious whirlwind of activities and conversations. I was delirious as I ignored a burning fever to spend an extra couple hours with her before she returned home and our separate realities brought an end to the smile-gifted festivities.
The timing wasn’t right. The setting was wrong. I was seeing someone else and she lived far away. Even so, we exchanged email addresses and phone numbers before she got in her car and took her smile away. In its absence I could no longer pretend there wasn’t a fire between my temples and I stumbled to the safety and relief of cool sheets and restorative slumber.
Time slipped after that weekend, both in reality and my memory. Life carried on in its ups and downs. Days passed. Work was accomplished. Adventures were had. But, none of it mattered then, and in the context of now, none of it ever will. Time was meaningless until the circumstances changed, I was single once more, and the distance between us no longer seemed important. It wasn’t important.
We were lucky in a world that holds a premium on such things. We were searching for each other. We pursued each other. We fancied and courted and learned and experienced each other. And all of our adventures were within the glow of her smile, her wonderful smile.