It's noon in Manhattan. A walk to the neighborhood bagel shop, he gets in the line that snakes past the counter and around the walls inside. I'm sitting outside with the dog, waiting. The summer heat beats down. It's a brick oven on Broadway and I'm standing in it. He gets out of the store, bagels in hand, and asks me: "are you sure you don't want to go upstate just for the day?"
An hour later, we're loaded into a car, one overnight bag each, packed with a bathing suit and not much else. I'm wearing a sundress and flip flops and a hundred miles can't pass soon enough. I have a little less than twenty-four hours of freedom.
Two hours pass, and he's in the pool and I'm laying on the lawn. Mountain breezes are drifting through my hair. The sun is peeking through the trees as though not to offend. The heat is different here. I almost don't need to get in the water to cool off but when I do, it's delicious and smooth. I can feel myself exhale and it's a deeper breath than I've had all week. When I get out of the pool everything sheets off my skin.
The grass is more shade than sun by the time we unwrap sandwiches, crisp white butcher paper unfurling to reveal food that is delicious the way that only after-swim food is delicious. Sitting on lawn chairs we eat sushi rolls with our fingers. I lay down on my towel and fall asleep watching boys, barefoot, run back and forth over the lawn after a soccer ball, frolicking like puppies.
Dinner at a restaurant in town. Sitting outside, sipping lemonade blueberry cocktails with crushed ice. Somehow food tastes better out here. You can focus on one sense at a time, and the air is clean. Conversation lingers and in the car on the ride home, we see heat lightning illuminating the sky. A thunderstorm, somewhere, is casting light so bright that it's reflecting off clouds and reaching us with no hint of thunder.
On the porch, beers in hand, staring up into stars. I love this man for understanding my soul. I'm so glad we came. Last minute trips are the best ones. In eight hours, I'll be on a bus back to the city, but for now, I feel the wind, and smell the summer.