A friend encouraged me to do this writing exercise. What would your perfect day in your perfect life look like? I only imagined half of this story prior to writing it. The rest of it came to me in the dwindling hours of the night, surprising me with how much I wanted this to be the life I’m heading towards. It’s a new year, so maybe, just maybe, one day it will be my life.
I used to hate waking up as the sun rises from its perch below the horizon, but now it’s my favorite time of day. John is still sleeping beside me; my handsome, loving man that I am constantly in awe of being married to. I resist the urge to run my fingers through his dark hair and instead plant the lightest of kisses on his bare shoulder. He stirs, but does not wake. I smile and ease myself out of bed. This is a routine now for both of us and he is used to the shifting weight of the mattress, the emptiness of my presence for just these few hours.
The bathroom tiles are cold against my feet as I tie my hair up and pin back my bangs. The first rays of sun are just entering my bathroom now and I grow excited. I can’t wait to be out there, experiencing the new day firsthand. I enter our walk in closet and run my hands over John’s hanging shirts, my fingers lingering on the blue one that he wore on our first date ten years ago. I change into a pair of shorts and a loose top. When I’m ready, I sneak out our bedroom door, again resisting the urge to wake John, this time with a kiss. There will be plenty of time for that later. For the rest of our lives.
I put on my socks, then my runners, which slip onto my feet with the same familiarity of a childhood friend. I’ve only had this pair for a few months, but we have already been through a marathon and more than a hundred park trails together. My body is buzzing; I feel the adrenaline already starting to course through my arms, down my back and into my legs. I am ready and I jump up and down in excitement as the elevator whizzes down to the lobby.
And then I am outside and I am free. The wind is cold, but not biting as I run down the sidewalk. There are a few people already pounding the pavement, dressed in business suits and talking ferociously into their cellphones. I feel slightly sorry for them, having to begin their days with work instead of this amazing rush of freedom that is pouring into me. I cross the street and find myself in Central Park. I breathe the fresh air in deeply, letting it fill my entire being and waking me up completely.
As I pass the fountain in the center of the park, my legs begin to ache, but I know I can go past my limits. My heart beats steadily in my chest and I feel the runner’s high coming on. Born an asthmatic, the day I discovered that I could run, that I could conquer my own body, was exhilarating. It was then that I became addicted to the open air, the push of my feet against the earth and the feeling of being so alive and free. I run fast, then I run slow, then fast again and all the while, my lungs work perfectly. I am perfect for as long as I keep moving.
But sadly, my run cannot last forever. I am not Forrest Gump, simply running just because. Maybe one day I’ll run from one end of the coast to the next, but that is a dream to look forward to, not one to achieve today. The smell of cinnamon hits me as the metal doors of my elevator separate to let me off into my penthouse. I walk straight into the kitchen just in time to see John expertly flip a pancake back into the frying pan.
“So glad I married a talented man,” I compliment him as I kiss him and give his butt a squeeze just because.
“So glad I married a woman who appreciates a talented man,” he says and slips the pancake onto a growing stack. “Food will be ready in fifteen minutes.”
I fill a glass with water, take a sip and tell him no worries- I have to shower first anyway. I kiss him on the cheek this time and head back towards our bedroom. I do a few yoga postures that loosen and soothe my tired muscles. When I head back into the kitchen, there are two plates on the buffet filled with eggs, fried potatoes and sausages with a giant stack of cinnamon pancakes sitting in the middle. Normally, Captain Crunch and baby food would be in the mix, but our son, Ethan and baby daughter, Hannah are with his parents this weekend. We love our children to death, but welcome this respite, this chance to be alone together.
John has already started on his breakfast; he has a meeting to run to soon. While I have made my living as a writer, he pursued being an entrepreneur. He has already successfully built and sold one business and is now in the middle of growing a second, which has already received a lot of press and is up for a major industry award next month. I love how brilliant he is and how his eyes light up whenever he talks about his businesses and his ideas. He is just as passionate about using his own two hands to make a difference in this world as he was when we first met.
We talk as we eat. John mentions a funny thing his business partner said to him in an e-mail this morning. I talk about an article I read before bed last night about a new cancer breakthrough. It’s something I’m thinking of working into my next novel. He promises to brainstorm about it tonight with me.
Our conversations seem mundane, almost routine to the untrained ear. Nothing more than the ramblings of an old married couple. But I would never give up the comfortable rapport that we have built, the interesting stories that we can share from our separate lives and the moments we have where we just smile at each other in silence. We leave the dishes for our cleaning lady. John kisses me before he runs out and then I settle down in my office to write a few chapters.
I know exactly how I want every scene and every dialogue to play out in this story. The words pour from my mind into my fingers and on to the page. I alternate between typing and dreaming up what my character is going to do next. I especially love when I end up with words on a page that I never thought of before, but somehow it works brilliantly into the story I’ve created. I take breaks only to have lunch and respond to an e-mail from my magazine editor. My monthly travel column is due next week and I’m only half way through my recap of my recent trip to Kenya.
My eyes drift to the news clippings I keep on a corkboard in front of my computer for inspiration. All three books from my last young adult series were on the New York Times bestseller list and the movie based on the first book broke box office records. That makes five books that have been on the list and hopefully a sixth will make it once my current effort is published.
The sky is beginning to fade to orange when I finally rub my eyes and stretch my fingers. My lower back aches dully, but I ignore it. I’m too satisfied by what I have just created to care. I feel good about my work today, knowing that this is one section I won’t have to edit later on. One of my best friends calls me just as I hit SAVE to ask if I’d like to join her for a snack at Serendipity. My stomach grumbles and I give her my assent. I’m with her in less than twenty minutes.
Sarah is literally a rock star and we have a bodyguard stand by us as we sip our hot chocolates and pick on three different pieces of cake. It has been a month since I’ve seen her. I talk about my new novel briefly, but mainly push her to tell me about her life. She is to be the inspiration for my next young adult series.
She updates me on her tour, the people she’s met and the interesting things she’s seen. I jot down a few notes as she talks, feeling that familiar tingle of excitement at the thought of creating a new character, a new world, a new story. Our conversation turns to gossip until our hot chocolate runs out and its time for me to return home. Before we part Sarah reminds me to put the Grammy’s into my calendar for next Saturday. I get to be her date this year.
Once home, I rush into the kitchen. John will be here in half an hour. I take out the chicken that has been defrosting in the refrigerator. It goes into a baking dish and I spend time massaging butter and my special spice mix under and over the skin. I toss potatoes, fennel, onions and garlic cloves into the dish as well. After I place it in the oven, I work on a fresh salad to go with it. My phone rings just as I am done basting the chicken.
It’s my literary agent and she sounds breathless. She is calling to tell me that my debut fiction novel for adults has been optioned into a movie. A big name director is signing on to do it and the very actor that inspired the hero of my story is set to play the lead. I scream out loud in excitement. I am beyond ecstatic for this film and am grateful for another success. I’ve just gotten off the phone and broken into a little dance when John comes home. He has a look on his face that tells me he has exciting news as well.
We talk for hours, way past when the food is gone and we are full of wine. He smiles at me and my heart skips a beat. Six years of marriage and he still gives me butterflies just from his smile. His hand reaches for mine and he pulls me up into his embrace. John’s lips are warm and hungry as they move against my own. We cling to each other, melting into a moment that is sweet, passionate and solely for the two of us. When the moment has come and gone, he strokes my hair as I rest my head on his shoulder. His scent washes over me and I sigh contentedly. I hear him whisper I love you and I whisper it back before sleep engulfs us, taking us through the night to another beautiful day.