I believe in perfect moments. They don’t have to be big, forever memories like kids’ graduation or seeing Paris for the first time. They can occur on an otherwise regular day or a regular night when one might think that nothing had happened at all.
A few days ago my kids sent me a picture of the two of them at one of their favorite local restaurants. I loved that they were together. The next time I talked with my daughter on the phone, I asked her where the photo was taken. It turned out to be this fun barbeque place that the three of us had visited on my last trip to San Francisco.
“What did you have?” I asked.
“Wings,” she said.
“I love wings! I haven’t had wings in ages!” I replied.
“Mommy, why won’t you get yourself some? I know you love them.”
“Well, see, sweetie, I can’t … I can’t have wings by myself.”
And that is its own story. I remember this one evening, a while back, when the man I was seeing at the time, came over with some wings and fries. The smell of garlic-parmesan filled my house. We started to talk about my day, and we couldn’t stop, not even for those delicious-smelling wings. I told him about a tedious meeting at work and a problem I finally solved; about the book I was reading that made me miss my kids; about a nice message I got from a friend whom I hadn’t seen in years; about my mom being not well; and about that trip to Nashville I so hoped we would take some day. It was a very regular day; nothing out of the ordinary. But he was listening in a way that made all my small victories seem award-worthy, and all of my embarrassing grievances absolutely reasonable. His attentiveness was so genuine, that I felt like the most interesting person in the world.
Then we watched our favorite TV show – Luther. As always, I sang along with the theme song. As always it was completely off tune. He laughed, as he always did. (He was a musician.) But it was a kind laugh that made me want to sing even more. We paused the episode quite a few times, so we could talk about it, as we always did. Before we knew it, the wings were cold and the fries were soggy. Nonetheless, they were absolutely delicious.
The next day when I got home from work the garlic-parmesan smell was still lingering in the house. Filled with the thoughts of the night before, I was overcome with pure happiness.
Now that we are no longer together, I just can’t have wings.
There was a long pause on the other end of the line.
“Mommy, it’s just chicken.”
“No, sweetie! It’s a perfect moment.”
Vicka Pevzner has lived in State College for 24 years and is originally from Russia. She is a programmer at Penn State Work Lion.