I believe perfection flickers in and out of moments. It’s that split second, when the world feels as though it’s gotten quiet enough for you to notice it. And then it’s gone. Like all moments, they’re fleeting. I hold on to these moments as if they’re pictures in my head, faded by age but still recognizable. Here are 11.
It was mid July with summer at its utmost prime, the smoke was rising into the pines and we sat patiently waiting with liquor bottles stashed in our bags. My parents were getting ready for bed inside the cottage, and we stayed wide eyed around the campfire, guitar in somebody’s hand, half of us singing notes we could barely hit. Later in the night we drove, our limbs dangling out of the golf cart to feel the coolness of a 2am summer night. We were so young, and so unbelievably stupid, and the grins on our faces admitted that we loved it.
The sun was setting over the camp. From the lake we could see people slowly making their way home from the park, the beach, and the diner. We were treading water, our bathing suits in hand because there’s something about skinny dipping at sunset that we were all okay with. Time and time again, my friend claimed she wanted to come back to my cottage simply for that moment. A moment we believed came directly from a movie.
My brother played the piano, microphone to his lips, as he looked up at his wife. She sang back, glowing in the beautiful dress of a bride. We all watched, blinking back tears, and I remember never feeling so proud. This is my family, I wanted to say, everybody look.
Canada day fireworks at Columbia lake. Three people sitting shoulder to shoulder – people who had once formed the basis of friendship and now sat together not by choice but by accident. The culmination of events ached in our bones and we cried as each firework exploded in the sky. She told me she was sorry, sorry for what had happened and that I didn’t deserve it. We didn’t mention what we had all done to each other, we just sat around crying over all we knew people had done to us. For a moment, it didn’t matter that we weren’t friends, we were people with histories, people who understood what it was like to be hurt, and we sat together in sympathetic agony until the fireworks ceased.
Boots and Hearts – the first year I went. Jason Aldean was playing, and it was pouring rain. The taste of alcohol on our lips as we sang each word to every song, we couldn’t get tired of this.
The first week of school at the University of Guelph. My feet are hanging over the bleachers, I’m in green leggings, and the football field is in the background as the first game commences. I remember thinking this is what University is about – moments like these.
A strapless tank top and underwear, dancing around the bedroom to Jessie James’ “I Look So Good”. The carpet held the tear-stained remnants of a break-up that wasn’t even a week old. But for that hour, they held a promise that I’d always be able to pick myself up off the floor. I went to classes that day wearing a pair of jeans I hadn’t touched in years.
The mattress is once again dragged into my roommates room, and we all sleep within the comfort of each other’s presence. We say “goodnight mom, goodnight dad” in our own childish humour. My friend and her boyfriend respond, “goodnight kids”, and we all fall asleep laughing at each other. Despite the weirdness of our mom & dad jokes, we really all were a family.
Beer in hand, I stood stuttering on the broken black leather couch, trying to catch the attention of a room full of some of my closest friends. They saw their friend, tipsy off sangria and nervousness, attempting to formulate a goodbye speech that was supposed to be more meaningful than downright embarrassing. But I saw the past 2 years on the faces of all of my friends, I saw my favourite moments and my least, and I saw that no amount of speeches would ever justify what they all meant to me.
The clouds had broke, but only momentarily. We were planning on going to sleep – slight jet-lag and an overdose of emotions, we were exhausted. But despite ourselves, we took the car over Lions Gate Bridge, and into downtown Vancouver. I pressed my face against the window, looking up at every building and down every street, for the first time despite the anxiety of leaving home, I was believing whole-heartedly that I would fall in love with this place. And I did.
Victoria, BC. Chasing the sunset through the park and down the rocks until we reached the ocean’s edge. The sky spread out a mix of orange and red hovering over the tips of mountains. We passed Captain Morgan around, listening to the faint sound of a guitar in the background. We skinny dipped in the ocean in mid October, then we made our way back to the hostel.