Before I turned off the light to the room, I looked at the Buddha sitting on the shelf. He looked happy, as always; a certain vein of content flowed through the little statue. On this night I sort of related to the fellow. I sat there for a split second, captured and almost frozen, looking deep into his smile. A certain part of me saw myself in that chubby little cherub. For whatever reason, I winked at him and nodded. I then reached for the light to the room, flipped the switch and replaced the glowing light of the room with the midnight darkness from the outside window. I could have sworn I saw some shadows painting their way through to where I was, if only I wasn’t so busy pushing the beaded strings that comprised the door to this most peaceful room of the house.
With the clattering of beads behind me, I made my way into the hallway. She was still there, waiting for me. The hallway was dark, but her silhouette had sort of angelic flare to it.
“How’s it going?” I quipped.
“OK,” she shot back.
I’m not sure if she saw my smile, but it was there. I knew it had a devious angle to it from the way my words sounded to me.
I continued my way to her stationary, illuminated body. I could hear the voice of others echoing from the walls in the house. The music was thumping below our feet from the basement down below. Our dance was in full swing.
I grabbed her hand and motioned her to follow me. I continued past the spot she waited for me, and outward towards the door that led to the outside darkness. I opened the door and met the cool January air head-on. It was freezing, but my skin didn’t seem to care, and neither did she.
It was two hours past midnight. The New Year was among us, but for some reason we didn’t seem to bother with those sorts of details.
The door closed behind us and we just looked out ahead, into the darkness, into the field that sat behind this rickety old house. Our breaths painted the stiff air in front of us. I let go of her hand to take in the moment. If I didn’t know any better I would have thought she was standing closer to me. I pretended not to care.
“Have you ever been back there?” she asked.
“Not yet.” I quipped, knowing my next move in this little semi-contrived adventure.
The field was black from the house, save for some lighted decorations Cedric managed to inflate into the back yard. One was a bunny that would have suited well for Easter. It had a cheery smile on it that almost bordered on maniacal. From this distance I peered into its eyes, one-hundred yards away. Concentrating, I could almost sense a certain evil in it, but that conclusion might have been derived from the wrath someone placed upon it earlier in the night. It had lost most of its air, and was tilted bent to its right. I almost could feel myself smile slightly at the poor bunny’s plight. For some reason, it looked like a Frank.
The field ahead and the house behind us were separated by a mass of land that must have been fifty-feet in depth. At the edge of this land there was a line of brush that acted like much as a fence would, had there been land owners who were paying attention to those sorts of details. That fence would be our destination.
“Come on.” I grabbed her by the hand again. I could have sworn I heard her smile.
We softly jogged to the brush. Cautiously, I made my way through, watching carefully where she stepped as to not get tangled. The cold air licked our skin in such a way that was soothing and unnerving at the same time.
We made our way through the brush in short order, and got ourselves closer to Frank. There he leaned, lighting us with a mysterious yellow-white brightness that seemed to make our smiles deeper than what they really were.
Letting go of her hand, I looked back at the house and saw its own brightness in a new light. The music was still booming, but muffled in a certain charming way. I almost felt we were in our own world out here.
I turned my head back around and found her trying to help Frank out, reaching here and there at the bunny, and trying to find the cause of his malaise. That miserable bunny. It could only limp there and smile.
A certain hum emanated from the thin plastic creature. It must have been an air pump of some sort, trying its hardest to keep the bunny inflated. Poor Frank. His courteous toothy smile could only try but to hide his perilous plight. He was a good actor, that one.
I looked out to our left into the blackness of the field. A light fog had ascended on the area, and added to the cold, quiet scene. I found myself giving it a certain dream-like charm, like an inviting smile from a long-lost friend from a life long ago, perhaps.
“Let’s go!” I barked at her. She dropped the bunny and threw it to the ground, toothy smile and all. Take that, Frank.
Hand in hand, we ran into the open field. Slowly I felt as if the field’s smile took us in. A certain warmth fell over us that almost made me not realize the dew soaking into my socks and shoes. Almost.
We ran some more. We must have been a quarter mile from the house; its glow would almost strike me as eerie if it wasn’t for the warmth of this dewy field.
I looked at around and up at the sky. The blackness of the gods stared back down at us. I looked for the constellation Sagittarius for some reason. Its stars have always eluded me. Out here, away from the city, the stars illuminated much more than I was accustomed to, as if to cast a spotlight on us in this field of joy. In a way, I felt guided by those wistful stars; here, we were explorers from long ago on our little castaway ship.
With the tug of her hand away from mine, I felt my focus shift back here on this wet foggy dreamland. She was dancing already, swinging herself around and away from me, her arms extended in graceful flight. Around and around she spun, dancing on this field. Something felt right about this moment, something recognizable from a time long ago, but somehow I couldn’t grab the exact memory.
Closer she came to me. I got ready to dance with her, only to find her suddenly in my arms. The look in her eyes said it all.
“I’m not going to kiss you.”
The phrase echoed in my head a thousand times over, like a seducing magic spell of sorts. The heat of our bodies pressed together in a way that must have made the fog around us envious.
And with that, our lips met. The field below climbed within me, within us. I could almost feel the stars hover above us, and play lightly with the fog. I’m sure it was smiling, too. It was at that moment that I felt youth sprawl inside me. I couldn’t help but to wonder if I would ever feel that young again, ever. It was one of those moments that I will look back at when I’m an old man, sitting on a porch somewhere in the Midwest, exchanging stories with my old friends. If my memory was to chip away at the edges, that moment, and that moment alone would serve as a pillar somewhere, somewhere deep within, and somewhere serene.
Suddenly, her echoes left me as she broke away, walking back towards the house.