A Perfect Day

June 2, 2011
“Today could not have been more perfect”, I thought to myself as I lay on my bed with a smirk on my face. I drifted back through the memories of the day, smiling wider with every passing thought.

The morning started off simply. I woke to streaks of golden sunshine beaming on the lids of my green eyes. Warm and happy, I stretched for a minute, got out of bed, and started my morning. I skipped down the hall to the dining room to find my favorite breakfast waiting on the table for me; homemade waffles, bacon, and eggs. My mom said she had never seen me run so fast in her life. I ate the food hastily, yet somehow was still able to savor every bite. I heard my pawpaw’s gentle voice from the garden asking for some help outside. “Sure thing!” I said to him. I drank my orange juice quickly and hopped outside.
I’ll never forget those big grins he used to give me when he saw me running towards him. He was surrounded by watermelons, bright green and just sprouting from the ground, and standing wonderfully amongst them. I looked over at him and asked, “Whatcha need help with pawpaw?”
“Well darlin’, we need to pick some beans and tomatoes, and plant some squash in the back. Are ya up for the challenge?”
“Well of course!” I said. I ran to grab the large metal bucket with the rusted handle, where the freshly picked produce, ripe and ready to eat, would soon be dropped inside so they could be washed off and canned right away. We must’ve worked in those gardens for at least four hours, only stopping for one break as a chance to cool off from the hot summer sun. We would sing old southern hymnals as we worked, which always seemed to help pass the time. I loved that some of the songs were ones that only he and I, along with probably five more people, knew. After we’d finished, we collapsed in our tattered oak chairs that pawpaw’s callused hands had made just a year before, only to have to get up again when Gran came to tell us that we would be having company for supper. We groaned for a moment, took a sip of our iced tea, then went inside to “look somewhat spiffy”, as Gran had put it. It was the pastor of my grandparents’ church, along with his family, that would be joining us for supper. So I put on my favorite purple dress, and washed the dirt off my face from having worked in the garden. We waited patiently for our guests and played Gin Rummy to pass the time.

Ding dong!
Pawpaw got up to open the old pine door that kept the pastor just outside the home. He greeted them with a smile saying, “Well pasta’ Phil. How are you?”, along with a hint of a southern twang to his voice.

“I’m just fine. What about yourself, Willie?” I could hear him replying just outside the door.

“Couldn’t be better I’m sure. Come on in, and I’ll take your coats.”
I couldn’t help but laugh to myself at the thought of someone actually wearing a coat in this Mississippi heat and humidity. The thought simply blew my mind. But, sure enough, all three of them came in with a jacket on. Looking around happily as they entered, the introductions were made. That was when I met Clay for the first time. He had bright blue eyes that sparkled in the fluorescent lights which illuminated the house, and dark brown hair that looked messy, yet somehow still put together. His voice was calm and rang like the melody of my favorite song. I wasn’t too sure, but I thought that perhaps I had caught his attention too.

Supper seemed to have gone perfectly. It was filled with laughter and stories, while being surrounded by the wonderful food that Gran made for us. We sat around the table just talking for awhile, and after we’d finished eating, Clay asked if he and I could go fishing. Honestly, I hated fishing and still do to this day, but of course I wouldn’t tell him that. So I grabbed the old fishing rod that pawpaw agreed to let me borrow, and we headed down to the old rusted creek just up the road. “So where ya from, anyhow? You talk kinda funny.” He was looking at me with a confused face.

“Wisconsin. I’m just visiting my grandparents for awhile. I’ve gotta leave on Sunday.”

“Oh, so yer a Yankee then. That explains the funny accent.”
“Well, ‘scuse me, but I believe you’re the one with the accent.”

We couldn’t help but debate the matter the entire way to our destination. I let him win when arrived, his persistence getting the better of me. He gloated for a moment, and then we cast our lines in and waited for a fish to bite. We sat for at least an hour, just talking about whatever was on our mind at the moment; about our siblings, our goals for the future, and our fears and aspirations. The fish never came, which gave us a good excuse for our extended chat. Even though I was just 15 at the time, I had a deep connection with this guy. I didn’t know what it was about him, but he was easy to talk to, and I felt like he genuinely wanted to listen to what I had to say. I knew I wanted to hear every word that he was saying, that’s for sure.

When the sun had started to set, we decided it might be a good idea to start heading back home. We walked up the gravel road, when all of a sudden he was gone. I knew he was teasing me so I called for him once, asking where he went and what he was doing and received no reply. I started to walk away, when I could suddenly hear the sound of the gravel being kicked up behind me. I turned to see him running towards me with a huge smile on his face, and started to run. He quickly caught me, lifted me onto his broad shoulders, and spun me around so fast that I got light-headed, causing us to sit in the grass for a moment so I could see straight again. And just like that, he leaned over and kissed me. That was the best moment of my life at that point. I sat totally speechless, smiling like a fool.

We went back to my grandparent’s house, and went on as if nothing had happened. Nobody else ever found out. It was the best secret I had ever kept in my entire life. We talked like normal, both to each other and our families, and no one suspected a thing. When they left that night, I just sat there with that memory in my head for at least an hour: the memory of the boy who’d been my first kiss.

I couldn’t help but smile as I lay in bed that night, gazing out my window at the most beautiful night sky I’d ever seen. The stars seemed to look down and wish they could’ve traded places with me, and why wouldn’t they after a day like this? “Yup”, I thought, “Today was just perfect.”

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