it was a tough call to make: whether to still celebrate if it rained. in the end, we went ahead. luckily, it only sprinkled. thanks to vaccines, a bunch of us gathered to commemorate some semblance of normalcy amid a rampant pandemic. nearly two years had passed since the last time we'd come together like this. our guests' presence, plus a shot of maker's on the rocks, popped me out of my day's doldrums—a despair brought on by calvin's premature seizure, a gorgeous day having been trapped indoors with a listless kid, the dread of more fits, and doubts about the evening's outdoor event.
thankfully, or so it seems, BYOEs (bring your own everything) work perfectly these days. it's easy for everyone. we just provide the venue. the bawdy jokes and natural banter between friends and neighbors flows like wine from a jug. handfuls of chips were chomped. drinks were drunk. a big fire was lit. mosquitoes bit arms and legs. the house being off limits, folks got just a tiny bit wet. some of us let ourselves get ever-so-slightly tipsy.
i talked and joked with old and new friends about my fantasy to be a backup dancer-singer for an eighties band, about swimming nine miles in a day versus running marathons, about documentaries and other film genres, about southern versus northern racism, about poverty, perennials, farming, sailing, pennellville road, and a bit about calvin. i gave hello and goodbye hugs to all of our guests. everyone seemed to have a nice time. all but one guest left by ten.
with some help from our favorite straggler, i cleaned up a bit then gave my husband and friend goodnight hugs and kisses. a weary smellie followed in my steps. entering calvin's darkened room, i checked on him. he was sleeping soundly in his bed. as i crawled into my own, i saw the silhouettes of my husband and our friend against yellow flames and red embers. the smell of smoke and sound of laughter drifted faintly through the open windows. i felt so relaxed and comforted. the worry and despair that had gripped me earlier had dissolved into the ether. i fell asleep recalling my lovely friends' faces, and of those whom i'd just met.