If you were allowed to go back in time to re-experience a “perfect moment” in your life, what would it be? I’m not talking about those rapturous Mount Everest once-in-a-lifetime landmark high points like marriage, graduation or birth of a child but a single quiet perfect moment where you were truly happy for just a moment in time? I have been blessed so I have many to choose from but if I had to select one I would pick a hot steamy August night in Toronto about fifteen years ago.
It was the seventh consecutive day of temperatures in the high thirties. We lived in a fifties-era red brick bungalow with small windows, no insulation and no air conditioning. The week of merciless heat had turned our house into a 1200-square foot pizza oven.
I am sitting on my front porch with my wife Nimmi. Our young son, Kevin, is playing Tonka trucks on the lawn. Most of our neighbours are central air challenged as well so they sit on their respective porches too. We wave to each other, sip cold drinks and complain about the weather. It’s getting late. Nimmi and I are dreading another night of lying our our bedsheets as our bodies slowly turn meat-falling-off-the-bone tender from our bedroom’s slow-cooker temperature.
Something cool hits my arm with a splat. It is a raindrop. At least I hope it is. High above seagulls riding the hot air currents swirl overhead. The sky is completely black so you can’t see them, you can only hear their screeches in the darkness. Another drop hits, then another. Suddenly the skies open. First a steady drizzle and then a full-out downpour. Our neighbours grab their drinks and folding chairs and dash indoors like sensible people. Nimmi holds the door open for Kevin and me but we pause and look in the opposite direction.
Earlier in the day I had hauled a broken down old blue couch out from our livingroom to the curb. It was an ancient Victorian styled thing, wide beamed and awkward as hell. A true Pitt. I had to knock the legs off just to get it out the door and now it sat there in the merciless rain like a mortally wounded bison stoically waiting for the wolves to close in. More likely two Newfoundlanders with a pick-up truck named Buddy who scavenge ahead of the garbage crews each Wednesday morning.
A lot of memories were invested in that chesterfield. Since he was a toddler Kevin and I had spent countless hours there with him sitting on my lap, my arms wrapped around him and my chin resting on his fuzzy head. As Kevin grew, we had to adjust for size. Now Keven has grown so tall we now sit one behind the other like two men on a motorcycle.
I have never been accused of common sense but fortunately Kevin seems to like that in an old man. As the downpour swells to a deluge Kevin and I kick off our shoes and we run whooping across the lawn to sprawl out on the old couch for one last time. It is parked under a street light and it is not long before our neighbours spot us us sitting on our couch in the pouring rain. We can see them standing in their livingrooms gawking out at us. Most have known me since I was a child so I doubt they are surprised to see me out there getting wet. Now they can see that silly gene has inflicted our second generation. Maybe that’s why they are sadly shaking their heads.
Nimmi rushes out to take one photo then runs back inside. She may have to prove insanity to a judge some day. After another five minutes even the neighbours lose interest. The livingrooms turn blue as televisions come to life. Raindrops continue to hammer down all around us, bouncing off our heads and streaming water down our faces. Kevin and I say nothing. I tilt my head back on the couch arm. Kevin leans his head back on my chest. If I look straight up, I can rest my chin on his head just like old times. We lie there in silence, faces titled skywards and my perfect moment frozen in a yet to land raindrop.