By Laura Moore
Hair styled, skirts brightly colored, long stem wine glasses tucked into their fingers.
They were laughing the sort of head back, chin up kind of laugh that seems to always accompany barefoot feet, sun-kissed shoulders, open-field turns and violets.
My heart burst just looking at them. I wanted to spin around the block, cruise back on by and steal another glimpse of their sandals pressing against the grass and their eyes catching the final few rays of the day and their cheeks squeezing together like accordions, moving in and out as their ideas leaked into the air and their ears happily enjoyed them.
But I kept going.
I had a son to pick up.
I had dinner idling in the crockpot and a dog walk to squeeze in before bedtime.
And so I carried on with my day. My son squealed when I walked in and I wrapped my arms tightly around him. We gathered his things and headed home, headed back to the kitchen, back to our evening routine.
The women were still there when we passed, and when I saw them, once again, I wanted to stop. I wanted to indulge in their indulgence. I wanted to understand what inspired them. No one--at least no one I see every day--does what they were doing. No one pulls out a lawn chair, a table and a bottle of wine and goes out front. No one dresses up to the nines just to take refuge five feet front their front door. No one sits there, for everyone to see, sipping and laughing and sipping some more.
I want to be like them, I thought. I want to throw a Wednesday afternoon celebration. I want to pause the world. I want to sit in the front yard and enjoy good company without a care in the world.
Instead, I pulled into my driveway, I closed my garage, I scooped out dinner and we ate it: chicken and vegetables and a little bread.
"Do you want to go on a walk?" I asked my son and my dog when we finished, and Finn wagged his tail and Z clapped his hands and the next thing I knew we were strapping on a leash, hooking into a stroller and weaving through the neighborhood, moving as quickly as we could so we could return in time to greet my husband when he got home from his meeting.
When we finished our loop, I decided to take a detour home.
"Let's go this way," I said, turning the stroller, and I led my crew back to our street, back to the stretch of road where those women were sitting and laughing and sipping wine earlier that day.
I hoped they'd still be there, and sure enough, when we turned the corner, I could see them in the distance.
"That looks lovely," I told them when I got close enough to speak.
And they turned to me, raised their glass and smiled.
"So does that," the older one said, "You probably just finished dinner and now you're out with your baby and your dog for an after-dinner stroll. That looks lovely."
And I glanced down at the wide-mouthed grin on little Z's face, and at the sweet pant coming from my dog's little mouth, and I breathed in the finally-warm air and took note of my bare shoulders and good health.
"Yeah," I said, turning back to the women. "It really is pretty lovely, you're right."
Then I leaned down and I kissed Z's head, right on top of the ray of sun skimming across it. And I ran my hand through Finn's fuzzy ear and I looked down to my phone, sitting in the cup-holder.
"I'm on my way," my husband wrote and my heart felt full.
"I hope you ladies have a wonderful night," I told them as I left.
And when we got home, I turned around and paused on our front porch. I asked Finn to sit beside me. Then I pulled Z loose and I swung him around over my head.
Both of us smiled.
Both of us grinned.
Both of us laughed the sort of head back, chin up kind of laugh that always accompanies barefoot feet, sun-kissed shoulders, open-field turns and violets.
And it really was, honest-to-God, lovely.