"Oh what the hell?" I said aloud as I swerved into the next lane over. Taking an immediate left into the parking lot, I checked my wallet for cash. "Just enough" I thought before opening the car door and heading inside.
"What are you crazy girls up to tonight?" the all too familiar man behind the counter inquired with a sly smile. "Not much " I replied as I headed to the back left corner of the store, per usual. "It's actually just me tonight".
" You don't want to try the newest batch of that local stuff you girls love?" he asked as I placed my item for purchase on the counter. "Mmm, not this time" I answered as I placed six dollars and forty two cents on the counter.
Back home in our quiet house, I started to put together what would add up to be my dinner for the evening. Throwing random vegetables into a salad and of course, burning my only piece of chicken left, I couldn't wait to be done in the kitchen. Sitting down at the table I realized something was missing. "Ah, yes.... the wine" I thought. Giving myself the hefty pour of six dollar and forty two cent Chardonnay that I felt I deserved, I returned to our dining room table and settled in to the night and in to the silence.
It is rare to have a summer night alone in our house. Between happy hours and kickball games, working late and dinner dates, concerts in the park and random but always welcomed visits from friends and neighbors, our summer has been the way it should be- packed full of friends, sunshine and way too many late nights.
Finishing up what was salvageable of the meal I had prepared, I went back for seconds. Skipping over the unfortunately charred chicken and heading straight for the chilled white wine, I realized the weight of the situation at hand. So rare is it that I am completely alone for a night in the house, that I could not even remember the last time it had happened. "You deserve this" I told myself as I poured yet another glass of the good stuff. Falling into the sofa, I looked around the room. A pair of neon sunglasses were sitting forgotten on the record player, left over from the costume my roommate wore during the incredible win we pulled out in kickball the night before. A bottle of "after-sun" lotion rested on the window sill, just begging to be reapplied to my sunburnt skin and brutally reminding me that never again will I spend an adventurous weekend camping and boating at 10,000 feet in the mountains sans sunscreen. Our summer bucket list lay crinkled on the trunk that doubles as our coffee table, half of its contents crossed off, causing me to smile and be happy that we are actually getting somewhere with the list this summer.
As I sipped the wine, I soaked it all in. All of it. From the first signs of summer and the bbq we tried to have before it was even warm enough to be outside, to the concert at Red Rocks that we barely remember. From the much needed family vacation, to the many nights spent on our favorite local rooftop, the Ale House. Summer was flying by and I still had so many things to process. I thought about turning 24 and how with every year that passes, regardless of my setbacks and downfalls, I feel myself becoming the person that I am meant to be. I thought about my 25th birthday and the lease I had recently signed, committing me to yet another action-packed year and another birthday celebrated in this house, on this street. I contemplated the repercussions of my own aging in comparison to the aging of my parents who are reaching the point of retirement bliss and who are, with every day, happily becoming more grey. I smiled a sad smile when I thought of my grandmother, in her room resting her eyes, realizing that she is probably still recovering from the Alaskan cruise she took my entire family on in early July. And as a tear fell into my glass, I came to terms with the fact that that family vacation with her, was probably the last of its kind. And I thought about the people I hadn't know for so long, the people that I had just met in the first half of the summer, from dinner dates to new co-workers, bartenders to new neighbors, summer seems to bring out the friendly in people and I was comforted in the fact that we still have a good two months of friendliness left before the fall ensues.
Closing my eyes, I let the sunset and the silence engulf me and I couldn't help but feel as if the night came to me on purpose. It came to me when I needed to slow down, when I needed to think. It came to me so I could process what had happened and what is to come in the next sun filled weeks. And as I turned out the porch lights a few hours later, thankful that no surprise visitors had popped by, I was so content with the date I had just had with myself that I made plans for a second one.
Rarely is it that we schedule time for ourselves. Time to sit. Time to drink a glass of wine and let your mind wander. Time to be. And it was in the me time on that night that I promised myself if I ever found six dollars in my wallet on a quiet evening, regardless of the season, I would buy a bottle of wine, cook myself some dinner and take the time to get lost in my thoughts, in my memories, and in a good glass of wine.