Craigslist, you apparently inspire me. It had been a while (I have my oh so solid 9 to 5 these days) since I had visited the website and found myself clicking under Jobs in Writing (weird). I came upon an interesting post; A woman explained that she was creating a book of 50 some individual stories of “the best day of my life.” She said that it could be fiction or fact and those that would be chosen for her book would receive a whopping $25.
While the promise of such a large sum of money was motivation enough I found myself seriously contemplating what my best day of life would look like. Sex with George Clooney? Playing with a wild Panda in the jungles of China? Witnessing the return of Christ? The options were endless. And then I began to type… I am surprised by what I composed, I guess I thought there’d be more excitement in my best day, but then again a lot of happiness comes from comfort.
I awake to sunshine creeping through my window. I can hear the gentle sounds of the ocean waves outside just as a teapot begins to whistle from the kitchen. I feel rested and relieved to have slept in. I am lying in an incredibly large sleigh bed with bright white linens smelling of lavender and eucalyptus. I am tempted to stay under my blankets when the smell of breakfast creeps through my door. I throw the covers back and commit to leaving my sanctuary as my stomach begins to growl. My house is quaint with wooden floors that feel cool against the bottoms of my bare feet. Books line the bright red shelves in my living room and I stare longingly at them thinking of how many I have yet to read. I enter my Spanish themed kitchen where all my family has gathered, early risers. I open the large verandah doors and carry mismatched plates and bowls to the oversized blue wooden picnic table overlooking the beach below. I am so incredibly happy to have my family here with me. It was a long flight for some but everyone seems in good spirits and I feel confident they have rested well within the walls of my cottage home.
We are sharing stories, laughing and poking fun at one another. My brother draws an imaginary line between us on the table with his large calloused finger and says, “this is my side, don’t cross it.” I use my elbow to discreetly inch my fork over the line, ever so slowly. I immediately howl in pain and then start laughing as my brother pinches the under part of my upper arm. He then throws his bear like arms around me and says, “you’re lucky mom’s here…” I roll my eyes and stare lovingly at his son who is playing with little wooden farm animals in the grass near my feet. My nephew’s blonde curls shade his little eyes from the sun.
We put on our swimming suits and venture into the warm turquoise sea. My little sisters are pretending to be sharks, taking turns attacking whoever is near. I slink back to the safety of the soft sand and join my nana who is still snacking on breakfast leftovers while thumbing through an old National Geographic. Just then I hear a loud bark from the house and realize I have forgotten about poor little Ralphie, my lazy but sweet bulldog. I run to let him out and he dashes past me into the water making my sister in law squeal. Mom asks if the salt water burns his eyes. I simply shrug and point to him lapping up the water, obviously happy. I remind everyone that the hotel they will be staying in tonight is also close to the ocean so there will be plenty of time for the beach this week.
I get out of a long hot shower and dry myself off with a plush white towel. I see Gunther Marie dozing on my bed. He is so adorable and I am immediately climbing under the covers, nuzzling my face into his fur. He smells of trees and dirt and I know that he has had a busy morning. His small purrs lull me into a light sleep.
I dream of horses in prairie fields. Hundreds of horses, grazing under a setting sun. I am trying to decide which one I will ride but it is too difficult to choose. I finally pick a gentle grey gelding with big brown eyes and long delicate eyelashes. I put my face close to his hoping he will sense my good nature. His soft nose smells of hay and salt cubes. I run my hands along his coarse mane and onto his back. There is neither saddle nor stepping stool and I am wondering how I am going to get onto this horse.
My family has gone to their hotel and I am on my way to meet friends for a late afternoon lunch. We are seated on a patio overlooking the mountains. I am trying not to choke on my glass of Pinot Grigio as a girlfriend tells us of her latest romantic fling. We are laughing so loudly that I am sure we are offending the other patrons. I look forward to these lunches every week. I’m eating the Chicken Walnut Salad with Goat Cheese and it is perfect. I squeeze a lemon into my water and agree with a recent movie critique. Ok, I will go ahead and order the Berry Truffle Cheesecake desert because after all I only had a salad, right? After two hours and three glasses of wine I am officially exhausted from the laughter and excitement. I am ready to head to the spa.
I am in heaven. I just had the most amazing facial and my fingers and toes are beautifully manicured. I am checking in with my mom to see how everyone is doing and rushing home because I have lost track of time and the love of my life is waiting for me. I blare Cat Stevens and roll all the windows down allowing the wind to cool my tanned skin. The sun is almost gone, hidden behind the looming mountains casting shadows on the road ahead of me. There is an old abandoned house that I pass on this route. I like to stop here because of a big oak tree with a wooden swing in the front yard. Bare feet pointed to the dimly lit clouds, I throw my head back and feel the weight of my body as I go higher and higher. All I need is five minutes and I am suddenly young, free… happy.
I come home to find the faint sound of jazz music and clanking dishes. I enter the house and see candles, over a dozen, all lit throughout the dining room. His voice is barely audible above the music so I move in closer. He turns the corner, wearing my yellow apron with lace, which makes me smile. He leans in, gives me a kiss and then offers up a wooden spoon with sauce on it for me to taste. It is delicious and spicy.
We sit on the hammock out back, legs draped over his lap I gently sip my tea as he hums quietly. The breeze smells of rain and there is distant thunder from the North. We are trying to find constellations but I only know the Big Dipper and Orion so the game is quickly over. He tells me how much he loves me and suggests we take a trip somewhere next month. I immediately agree and squeeze his hand in excitement. “What about Fiji?” I offer. “Wherever you want to go, we’ll go.” He answers. My eyes are getting heavy as I suggest the various perfect destinations. He pulls me up with his strong arms and I remind him to turn off the porch light.
We make love and listen to the thunderstorm that has finally reached us. I am convinced the rain is our very own love song as it hits the windows and roof. Sleep comes easily and my last thought before entering dream world is that this has been the best day of my life.