It’s a beautiful day outside. The sun is shining and the sky is blue and by all appearances it’s the perfect day. I’m forced to stare at this magnificent day from the confines of the drive-thru window at the bank, where I will remain until my lunch hour arrives, and then it will be freedom as I shove one of the double doors of the building open, exerting more effort than usual as the wind fights from the other side, trying to keep me in, but I emerge victorious. The sun shines down on me and the crisp march air that carries with it an unmistakable scent associated with a happy memory, though I don’t recall the exact memory, nor can I name the smell, hits softly pushes against my face and through my hair, reminding me of the simple and unexpected pleasures that life can bring. I dare to let the corners of my mouth to shift in an upward trajectory, allowing a faint, but genuine smile to form on my face. I’m happy.
I pause in the parking lot and wave to the oncoming Toyota, signaling to the driver to continue driving and not to stop for me; it’s a beautiful day outside, and I’m in no hurry. The solemn driver nods as he passes, acknowledging my gesture as the cobalt car glides by then gets further and further away until eventually it is out of sight completely. I have a sandwich waiting for me in my car, Cajun turkey on a croissant with mild cheddar cheese and a thin layer of spicy mustard. I could sit in my car and eat it, falling into the monotonous pattern of eating my same lunch while listening to the same radio show at the same time every day, but it’s just so nice outside, and it would be a shame to waste the moment, so I drive to the park and take my place on a wooden bench looking out at the water. I don’t know if it’s a pond or a lake as I have trouble distinguishing between two, but whatever the proper name, it glistens in the sunlight directly overhead, mesmerizing me as I munch on my sandwich.
A couple of ducks have swam to the edge of the water, so I break off a chunk of the croissant then pick little pieces one at a time from it and toss it to the grateful birds. They quack their approval and I toss them some more; this is what life is all about. Leaving the park, I roll the windows down on my car, making the most of this wonderful day that I’ve found myself in. At a stoplight, the cool breeze carries with it the scent of exhaust, and immediately I’m sent back in time to Paris on the spring break I took with my dad thirteen years ago. It’s the same smell as the time we rode our bikes around the city on Easter Sunday when most of the major roads were closed to automobile traffic. It was so freeing, the wind rushing through my hair as we rode past the Eiffel Tower or sped across one of the bridges on the Seine. It was one of the greatest days of my life. It was thirteen years ago, almost half of my lifetime ago, even though it feels like it could have been last year. I don’t feel any differently now than I did that beautiful Sunday morning in Paris, but I am different. I’m older now, and no matter how much I wish I could, I’ll never be able to go back, never be able to recapture the happiness of those youthful spring days in Paris ever again. I cry all the way back to work. Thanks depression.