Deleted Scenes: A Thing That Happened

This weekend I had one of the best moments of my life, and if you’ve got a second, I’d like to share it.

The sun was coming in through the large window, warming the living room floor of the beach cottage my wife’s family acquired before money was invented. Outside, the Connecticut coast of the Long Island Sound wasn’t 50 feet away, the water lapping a high tide that my dog, Dio, stood up on a footrest to watch. She likes to alternate between looking out the window and sleeping in the sunshine.

I sat in a reclining chair with a book in my lap. The chair wasn’t that comfortable, but it bobs a bit when I lean back and I like that about it. My stomach was wonky from wine the night before. I’d staved off a full-blown hangover, though, by going into town for breakfast and getting a crepe. Steak egg and cheese heals all wounds.

We were in the process of shutting the cottage down for the winter. It’s a seasonal deal, no insulation—though this weekend was warm enough we didn’t need it for the most part, and the night before, to go with the wine, had been the Orionid meteor shower, and shooting stars danced in the clear, chilly autumn sky. This was daytime though, afternoon. We’d been cleaning, and my wife was in the shower. I’d told her to go first. We’d tag-team, finish cleaning up after, and then leave the cottage for the last time until next spring, probably March or April.

So it was the sound of the shower, the sound of the ocean and my own breathing at first. Then I heard my wife singing in the shower, her voice cutting through the other noise subtly at first, then more boldly, but still faint. I don’t know what it was she was singing. Some song. But I stopped, looked up from the book, saw the dog looking out the window, looked out myself and saw the clouds tumbling over each other on their way to evaporation, heard my wife singing, felt the sunshine and the undertone of coolness that rests beneath October warmth, and I realized right then that this was one of the best single moments I’d ever experienced.

It was like I wasn’t even me, being there. And all my wretchedness, my overthought regrets, my guilts and displeasures were evaporating like the clouds through the window. The realization was a wash over me, not exactly warm, or sweet, or tender or anything, but there and palpable all the same. I listened to my wife sing whatever song it was, and thought of the smell of the soap she was using and the water running down her body, and it was just perfect. Everything was perfect. Everything around me, surrounding me. All of it.

Naturally, it didn’t last. I turned my head and the dog jumped off the footrest. My wife finished her verse and then her shower and soon I had to get up and take one as well, then finish cleaning. The sun moved in the sky. It got colder. We left. But I had that moment. It was there and I was there, like planets aligning, and for a few minutes—not more than that—I wanted to live for a hundred years more just to never forget it.

Thanks for reading.

JJ Koczan