just after

When I was in my early 20s, I liked the moments before, the most. Ten minutes before a party, if I wasn’t running around trying to throw a shirt over my head after washing my hair, I sat in my suddenly clean home and looked around. Imagining my friends on the blue couches, laughing and telling stories made me so very happy . I lingered in those moments, dreaming into the white space.

I’m sad to say that sometimes the imagining was better than the reality. My friends were lovely — some of them are still my friends — but nothing could live up to those expectations of mine.

As I’ve grown older, I like being in the moment, more. Messy and mucky sometimes, like pulling rubber boots out of the mud, the moment always surprises. Those moments before are loaded, afterwards can be deflated. But the moment? Oh, the moment. I’ll never know it. I love that.

These days, though, I like the moment of just after. I love the meal, of course, but I almost like more the moment of leaning our arms on the table, napkins crumpled, glasses empty, the plates only crumbs. We’re sitting, together, no one leaving yet, no expectations of anything more.

We had a couple small cookouts this weekend and the moments just after eating were just wonderful. I look forward to many more.