an evening of small sweetness

from 18 May 2005:

Life is full of small sweetnesses these days. Or, to put it more accurately, life is full of moments where I’m able to recognize the sweetnesses these days. Leave the brain fog and stupor behind, and everything looks so beautiful.

This evening, I went to Francoise’s house for dinner. I hadn’t been over in months, and I had missed that joyful family. Francoise is one of my favorite people in the world, absolument. Always, she smiles. Everything enchants her, makes her laugh, or helps her discover something tremendous about life. She acts on that knowledge, that there are so many things that are tremendous about life. When I’m walking down the street from school, on my way to the lunchroom, and see her coming toward me, I smile in anticipation, because I know that she will wave, vigorously, then shout, “Shauna!” in her gorgeous French accent. Being with her makes me feel at peace with the world.

And so I went to Francoise’s for dinner, for “…our first gluten-free meal!” as she put it. Adrian, her wonderful, loving husband, barbecued us salmon and bacon-wrapped scallops on the porch, even though it was pounding grey rain unexpectedly. “Seattle barbequing season,” as he said. Their spirited, rambunctious, word-play-loving daughters talked over each other in their eagerness to tell me stories. Camille gave me a little purple pillow she had made me when I was sick. We bounced up and down in the kitchen, spontaneously. The saffron rice bubbled on the back burner. The green beans steamed in the pressure cooker. And I rememberd, in a flash, those weeks of laying on the couch, pale as death and feeling alone.
So there was salad with dill, shallots, and French sea salt. There were eruptions of giggles throughout the meal. There was a platter of perfectly cut pineapple, the first of the season. Everything tasted good, and not just the food.

And when it was time to leave, and I had hugged everyone goodbye, the sun had emerged from behind the clouds, that liquid golden light of almost-summer. And I swear, as I walked to the car, a rainbow bent down to the street to meet me.

Life is sweet.