The Perfect Day (Part Seven)
There we were, in blissfully content in each other’s presence, our feet dangling from a small cliff face and before us an endless flow of cascading water. I carefully studied Vincente’s face . I could feel his happiness and it soothed me more than the sounds of the waterfall. The sun made every drop of water glisten below us like glittering jewels.
Our shared silence came from a place of solace and not the somberness I had grown accustomed to. This moment felt nothing less than immaculate. It was a day blessed by the winds, perfected by the birds’ songs.. For once, everything felt right. We must have sat in a lover’s embrace for hours; the sun hung high overhead before Vincente shot up from where he had been sitting.
“We should head back, I am hungry,” he said.
“I suppose you are right. Next time we will bring food.”
“And a tent. And some blankets.”
I laughed as I stood and followed him down the path to the town. Our home. I cusped his hand and smiled as we descended the small incline. Tree branches bearing wild fruit hung low over either side of the pathway as if on an edible display. To our left the waters formed into rapids and shifted into a calmly flowing river that led to town.
As we entered the flat lands, vast plains filled with wildflowers in a variation of colors, long grass stems blew in the wind sending ripples through the green pastures, much like the waterway that snaked its way through the land.
“What do you have in mind for food?”
“Well, it is about noon. So why don’t we get some lunch at the coffee house? Something light. Bread and jam? Maybe some fruit?”
“That sounds fine.”
We locked arms and I rested my head on his shoulder as we took in the sights of our lovely town up ahead; its cobblestoned streets and wonderful tan-colored buildings bathed in a rosy hue gave a physical embodiment to the love we shared. As we entered the town we were greeted by a young lady carrying a basket filled with fruit on her head. She had just come from the orchard outside of town.
“Hello, how are you two?”
“We are well. We went to the waterfall,” he replied.
“Such a beautiful day for it!”
“Absolutely,” I agreed, my head still perched on his shoulder.
She drifted onward into the town as did we. We found ourselves drawn to the smell of freshly baked bread. Our noses followed the allure to the coffee house. The doors to the establishment were purposefully opened, drawing in hungry people like ourselves. As we made our entrance the elderly couple who ran the business greeted us with warm smiles.
“Could we please get two coffees, some raisin and rye bread,” Vincente paused to turn to me, “And what do you want for toppings?”
“Could I get honey and apple jam?”
“And I’ll get strawberry.”
“Absolutely,” the old man disappeared into the backroom.
“Would you two like to be seated on the rooftop? We just had a seating area installed up there,” the old woman offered.
“Sure!” I immediately answered.
“Wait here, Angie. I have to use the restroom.”
I felt slightly uncomfortable in the presence of the grinning old woman.
“I am very glad Vincente found you. He always just painted and painted. He’d stop in for food but other than that. Well, he just worked.”
“I am glad I found him as well. I felt so alone before him and now…”
“Where are you from, dear?”
“It is complicated. From a town across the Great Forest.”
“Oh wow! I never knew there was another kingdom beyond this one!”
“It is not worth exploring.” I said.
Vincente came back from the bathroom drying his hands on his clothes. I raised my eyebrow.
“You washed your hands, I assume?”
The old man entered with a tray laden with our desired delicacies and a little extra. Vincente reached for his coin purse but the old man shook his head.
“It is on the house. Of all the couples that come through here you two are our favorite. Come, follow me to the rooftop.”
We were glowing. As we ascended the staircase onto the patio, the day went from perfect to divine. We could see everything. The splendid plains with the river running through the town; to our right, the mighty mountain with its snow caked peak, at the cusp of its stone foundation, the orchard stretched across the dreamscape all the way to the edge of the building on which we stood.
We were awestruck as the old couple pulled out our seats for us and placed the tray on the table. We did not even notice them leave. How could we? We would have forgotten about the food had we not smelled its enchanting aroma filling our nostrils.
With vehement joy, we ate and took in the view. Two lovers on a perfect date on a perfect day. Without worry or care. Simply sipping the coffee like sweet ambrosia and eating our bread and jam like a queen and king.
“We should do this every day,” he smiled.
I had never felt better than I did in that moment. And I never would again. Not with anyone, not in any place. All my heart ever desired rested in that one experience. I wish I could have lived it forever. With great sorrow I feel its tangibility slipping from my mind. As if it, as if he, were nothing more than a fever dream. A lie I tell myself to relieve my life of its constant macabre somberness.
Vincente. I am sorry. I am sorry I failed you, that I failed us. I wish I could have saved you.