Friday, February 3, 2012

Perfect Days

The groundhog brings you surprise tickets to see an open rehearsal of the Boston Symphony. The Gingerbread Man takes the day off, and the two of you drive into Boston. After a mad dash to Symphony Hall, you sit in the midst of its splendor, amazed at the sound that comes from the stage. Amazed that a conductor can distinguish among so many threads of sound. Amazed that a composer could hear these things in his mind, then write it all down in a code that you can't even begin to understand--writing it down before it flits off and away.

The sound is so full and so rich, it is nearly tangible, as if you could slice it like cheesecake and ingest it. You watch the conductor, his movements, the response of the musicians. You look up at the windows, the statues in alcoves, the lighting, the seats--all while the music lifts you and carries you around. The musicians pause several times, as the conductor takes them through a few measures, over and over again, until they're perfect.

The music stops, and the house lights go up. It's intermission, but you have to leave. There's only time for lunch, then the drive back before the school bus arrives. So you and the Gingerbread Man enter an Ethiopian cafe, and order peanut tea. When it comes, it's scalding and it burns your tongue, but it is sweet and creamy and perfect. It's the sound of the symphony made hot, frothy, and drinkable. When your food arrives, you remember that Ethiopian food is eaten with fingers. So you dig in to red lentils, yellow split peas, and spinach and potatoes with the pancake-like bread, licking the sauce off your fingers.

Feeling full and happy, you walk back to the parking garage, reveling at being in a city again, reveling in the shapes of the buildings, the pattern of the cobblestones, the lines of planted trees. And the drive back gives you more time with the Gingerbread Man. Bliss.

When the gingerbread boys come home, they are at peace. You direct them in homework, dishes, piano, and you don't even have to make supper, because you made two pots of soup the day before, and there is plenty left over.

At the end of the day, you stand by the bathroom sink, contemplating what a perfect day it's been. Perfect concert. Perfect lunch. Perfect drive. Perfect afternoon. Perfect evening. 

It gives you pause. 

In each day is some good and some bad. It's the natural balance of things. You believe this, fully. When you have a really bad day, this philosophy helps you to seek out the good in the day. You always find some. 

A tiny space opens up in your mind, a small niggle. Where was the bad in this day? Not like you want to be pessimistic and seek out misfortune, but there was none. You want to simply be grateful for a happy day, but some part of you wonders when the bad will come. When will the axe fall? 

Even as you think this, the gingerbread boy wakes up with a migraine. You sit up with him, rubbing his head for an hour and a half. You wish he didn't have this pain. You wish you could take it away. But you know that into each life comes some good and some bad. Into each day comes some good and some bad. This is his challenge for now. There will be other things in his life that will compensate for it. By 1:30, he's asleep again, and your perfect day is over.

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