It's funny how one little thing can trigger the smallest details of memory. For me, this week, it was the peonies.
They are everywhere. Big, fluffy, pink and white, raucous and extravagant. They remind me of the barbecue we had here at our house, back before my world split open.
It was a hazy day in July. We had told people to bring lawn chairs; we'd planned to sit in the back yard and grill. Except that the temperature was in the nineties, and the humidity near one hundred percent. The simple act of walking outside left you drenched in sweat.
|Photo courtesy of flickr user ballookey|
under creative commons license
My husband braved the heat to stand over the grill and manhandle jerk chicken. My former boss's husband kept him company. I fussed over the food, sure there wasn't going to be enough, worried that it wasn't impressive enough, but everyone made do, and enjoyed themselves despite the fact that we were all stuck inside a house that was too small for the party, cocooning ourselves in this small oasis of cool.
M. and H. came, and sat on the floor in my living room, played with my then three?-year-old son. Legos, maybe? Or something less advanced? I remember thinking that they would make such fabulous parents some day. And now they are.
B. had come with tarts, which he informed us, with pride, were made the right way, with lard. Cherry, I think. The tarts, not the lard, of course. And homemade sorbet, perhaps? Yes, raspberry and lime sorbet. He was technically the reason we had found each other, the one who had gathered us together, assembled his team. His philosophy, he'd always said, was to surround himself with smart people, and let them do what they do best.
That sweltering day in July, I felt like we were pioneers, a small group of people who were going to change the world, who could really transform higher education together from our little lifeboat.
It seems hardly believable now that we'd ever had that party, that those people were ever in my house together, that we were so naive and optimistic. And yet, there were the peonies. Something concrete, fragrant. They lasted for days, delicate though they were.
What are some of the triggers of your most detailed memories? The ones that don't seem possible otherwise?