Nathan was making dinner last night, chicken breasts stuffed with spinach & feta, & he'd just put them in the oven when I heard familiar booms outside, booms like I sometimes heard as a kid when they came from a concert venue miles away. These were the same but louder; closer, I knew. Excitedly, I ran to the living room window to try to see the source of the noise, but the recently bloomed trees now obscure our view of the Navesink River below.
"Do you want to go outside?" he asked, & I did, so we flew down three flights of stairs, our fingers barely skimming the handrails, me with my shoes only halfway-on, hurrying because we didn't want to miss what was happening outside. And when we made it outside, past the line of trees into the small clearing on the water behind our apartment complex, we saw them: fireworks! Fireworks going off somewhere else, for someone else, but perfectly visible from our own backyard.
None of our neighbors had come out to enjoy the show - their loss! - so we sat alone, knees up, on the concrete dock behind our building, a cool evening breeze blowing salty air over still, quiet waters. Together, we watched as colored lights exploded in the not-so-distant distance, showering the night sky with sparks & sound, echoing across the river. A Memorial Day treat. A gift from life, to us, with a big, sparkly bow on top, just because.
They didn't last long; fireworks never do. Ten minutes? But they lasted just long enough to remind me of all the things I love, of all the things that are good & beautiful & wonderful & right in the world & in my own life. To remind me that I am lucky & loved & in love. To remind me that the past has finally passed, & that so much lies ahead. In those 10 minutes, all the lyrics felt prophetic* & all the tears felt worth it, & I couldn't figure out exactly what felt so right. I just knew that everything did, & that I was grateful for that.
Tonight, as I sat down to write, the apartment was quiet & dark with Nathan already asleep in the next room, a train whistle blared in the (not-so-distant) distance, cutting through the silence. Just like the booms of the fireworks, the sound of that whistle brought me home again, to countless nights lying in my bed in Ohio, carving out time for myself & my dreams. Just like the booms of the fireworks, this little reminder of places past connects me to memories I didn't even know I held dear, all coming full-circle.
A gift from life, to me.
And it's in these moments that I know that this is the place for me right now, even when I think it's not, because he is the place for me, no matter where he goes. I will always, always go with him - & wherever we find ourselves, that will always be home.