Why is it that whenever I think of fireworks, I think of you? Seeing fireworks with you on that 4th of July so many revolutions around the sun ago was the last time I was truly excited about seeing fireworks, the last time I made it a point to see fireworks.
It was the first summer I had spent away from home and it was imperative that I see fireworks to make the holiday complete some thousands of miles away. You had driven for hours to spend my birthday weekend with me. And when I told you I wanted (needed?) to see fireworks, you made it happen. We drove aimlessly through the unfamiliar streets of Durham, with no destination, only a determination to watch explosions in the sky. But that was all we needed, wasn’t it? Desire. Action. A sense of adventure.
And sure enough, we found what we set out to find. I squealed with delight when I heard the high pitched cracking and saw sparks flying high above the road. We had been rewarded for our efforts. Together we sat cuddled up on the sidewalk and watched the air fill with bursts of bright lights. The show lasted only a few minutes, leaving only clouds of smoke in its wake. But the exhilaration stayed with us through the rest of the night. It was special. It was perfect. Do you remember?
Is it strange that I still remember? That I think of you whenever I think of fireworks?
I haven’t made any effort to see fireworks since – not on our nation’s independence day, not any other time. The interest, the desire, is no longer there. There was a time many years later I wanted to relive this experience – seeing fireworks while feeling fireworks with a lifelong partner. The feeling of being crazy in love like we once were. Feeling the spark of a fiery romance. Not in a movie romance type of way, but side of the road in an unknown place just to make me smile romance type of way. I wanted to know that fireworks weren’t just a finite thing you chased for a few moments of excitement, but a fiery feeling that could be ignited with someone over and over again.
I’ve had other loves and experienced romance long since our summer escapade. But even all these years later, our time chasing fireworks is as salient as ever. Perhaps it emerges in my mind because it was a once in a lifetime feeling, one that cannot be relived or replaced. Fireworks are fleeting and last but an instant. Today, I don’t wish to feel fireworks because that thrill was never meant to last. Rather, I’d wish for riding the type of high that got us to the fireworks and carried us through the night after the smoke dissipated. I’d wish for the desire to create a moment simply because one or both of us want it happen, navigating the unknown together. I’d wish for experiencing moments together, instead of (re)creating a feeling.
Whenever I think of fireworks, I think of you. And this fond memory reminds me I have more living to do…