The Short List of Things I’m in Love With (Part Two)
I always find myself reading. I read everything. The labels on food packages, the fine print on the back of technology boxes, the quotes littered around every monument in New York City… Upon my meticulous reading, though I can’t remember where, I stumbled across an Anne Frank quote that I haven’t stopped thinking about, “What a wonderful thought it is that some of the best days of our lives haven’t even happened yet.” Naturally I sit up, and I think, ‘Up to this point what has been the best day of my life?’ fully expecting all signs to point to this one perfect day containing the best memory my mind could produce.
But, I don’t think I’ve had a perfect day. Not in a sad way, but in a kind of amazingly satisfying way. In the same way, I imagine, an artist feels about having an entire body of work they’re gratified by. Each piece representing so much of themselves that they couldn’t favor one over another, because of their crucial singular meaning, but equally integral part of a whole. In a way that all of my hope about existing doesn’t lie in the likelihood that I’ll ever replicate this one perfect day, but feeling so full in having lived hundreds of days that have felt as kind and peaceful as the last blink of an eye before a heavy sleep.
Though, I was at first horrified with the idea that I couldn’t come up with one perfect day, the realization of feeling full because my life has been full bestowed upon me a greater happiness than I think the selection of a single day ever could. Amongst my larger expedition to surface what elicits feelings of love from me I realize that maybe it is about feeling full. I fall in love with things that make me feel adequate and content. Things that bring me back down to earth when I get so worked up I’ve absentmindedly floated into the skien of the impossible.
Many of the things that make me feel this way exist in an abundance of the days I’ve lived, which might explain my conundrum. The things that make a day so good, it’s memory in my mind is embossed with a gold film. Now that I think about it, there are a few recursive occurrences that make up a large portion of these memories, many of which start by waking up and just feeling okay. Like I could burn my eggs in the skillet or forget my books at home and be perfectly alright with just starting over. Sometimes, it’s just sitting in the dark for a while.
It took me a long time to love the dark, or being alone. But now I have a special appreciation for the kind of solace it grants me. It gives me the room and the calm to focus on a single thought, which I enjoy as a person who seldom gives in to their hyper-fixation. But being alone in the dark doesn’t feel like being alone. It feels like a vacuum; with all distractions removed, the world is as serene as this silence, as placid as this stillness. And I’m in love with the idea that my life is as chaotic as I want it to be, and at the switch of a light — I can turn it off.
Somedays are the opposite and start off as poorly or decently as any, and I hear just the right Cante that turns everything on its head. Like a good friend giving you a piece of advice thats exactly what you need to hear after mulling over a problem that seems never ending. An epiphany! Cantes are speaking the utmost truth with their dramatic “si es mentira que me maten” (and they never are, so we never do). They always feel like they’re speaking directly to me with their gitanos, tailored to whatever is troubling me. I find comfort in the realization that people hundreds of years before me roamed the same earth beneath my feet, feeling the same way about life and death as I, and got on with living. So I, too, must be capable of the same.
In a similar way, I live for hearing people’s stories about life and the world. I love knowing that people have existed before me, but I love recognizing the lives of those who live alongside me even more. The reality that millions (billions) are living as presently and boundlessly as I, with their own troubles, and dreams, and fears… It makes my own big fears, dreams, or troubles seem less daunting in mass. I rely on that certainty in order to feel full. The undeniable truth that the whole world is feeling (7 billion of us!), in some fashion, right here with me.
If it wasn’t already apparent, very small things can make my dull day bright. I love small things, like receiving a letter in the mail or getting an unexpected call. Yet, the smallest but most surprising recursive token of happiness I noticed was the presence of birds. I couldn’t tell you why I love birds so much. Maybe it’s because the happiest memories from my childhood until now, more likely than not, include small birds chirping in the background. Maybe it’s because their songs remind me of a sweet piano sonata. I don’t really know. Regardless I have an image of pure bliss burned into my mind: waking up in the morning. Making the route to my window my first task of the day. Watching the lush green trees sway in the wind and listening to the birds just hum. And simply sitting there for a while.
Though birds are a common motif throughout my depiction of love and happiness, I have an affinity for a bunch of other small things. Looking up and just seeing trees, watching a thunderstorm from a room thats all glass, writing and writing and writing, the sun that peaks through my window for the last time at 5pm on a winter day, (in this moment a nice girl stopped me and told me I was gorgeous thus this day will likely be embossed in gold film), reading a book so good I can’t finish the page fast enough, loving a place so much upon my departure I cry, being in public and not feeling afraid, being honest and not feeling afraid, being sad and not feeling afraid.
I’ve come to love things that are just immense in size or emotion. That make the world feel full, because the world is full! Like catching the water rush in between the crevasses of wood on the Brooklyn Bridge walk way, and the steady recognition that there is life in front and behind me, but also miles beneath me. I like big art instillations I don’t understand, really loud TV fuzz, and things that I don’t quite make sense. Since choosing to recognize the fullness of the world, I’ve surrendered to obtusity.
I love things that feel like they don’t belong... Theres a considerably massive grass hill in the heart of downtown that feels outrageous, but it’s there and it’s lovely. Dull lights illuminate a narrow walkway to the top, and theres nothing but the view of the buildings and the view of the water. For some reason it just makes sense. At the same time, I also like walking into rooms where I don’t stick out like this hill in Battery Park; I’ve found some sort of middle ground in being comfortable with the unconventional yet still somewhat pinning for whats familiar.
The more I continue to think, the more satisfied I become with not having a perfect day. I have a million perfect moments, a million perfect thoughts, a million perfect feelings. Some days I experience them all at once, some days only a few, some days none at all. Yet, I believe I’m at peace with the idea that the love I receive and the love that I yield is a derivative of these things I encounter constantly as opposed to a single day, person, place or thing. Although at times it feels like a messy multitude of all four.