From time to time, whenever they come to my grandparents’ house, I allow myself to act younger than I am alongside my cousins in their backyard. We play tag while our joyful shouts weave into a sonata played by an instrument that melts all of our trivial worries and frustrations. It attracts the eyes of neighbors, who peek out from behind their curtains at the noise that to some seem too loud but to those who understand like music. Sometimes their eyes narrow at the noise, but even in the grumpiest of people, somewhere deep inside a spark of memory is lit… Whether or not is ignites cannot always be determined but sometimes their eyes brighten, their faces relax and they open the curtains. They put their hands under their chins and watch as our bare feet turn green with dewy grass while the sky turns orange and then becomes an ombré of yellow, green, and blue. We call it night when the first star shines down on us. We lay on the grass and the people who watched close the curtains. We jokingly pretend that the sky is a blanket and that the stars are lanterns shining through from the other side. I show them constellations and don’t feel so young anymore. But no matter how old I get I will always remember those happy occasions in which all of my worries became a distant memory that floated away on the wind.
Looking back and to the future, I know that those memories can’t be truly brought forth by just thinking about them. It doesn’t do it justice, because those times are so scarce and unique that only the same senses experienced at that time can make me feel the same way. The aroma of wet grass and pumpkin pie has never reminded me of anything but those days. And I’ll never forget the sound of the men's laughter, my grandpa’s deep voice, the women comforting frustrated children, my grandma sighing at the “adult boys” when they told less than appropriate jokes and even at the mildest of swear words all the while innocently giggling, and our happy screams when we almost got tagged all at once. Only a picture of the “cousin tree” in their backyard surrounded by lava rock, behind the grass that is behind the roses (that are and always will be the color of sunset) will truly remind me of how I felt then. Grandma’s infamous pumpkin pie and scalloped potatoes are the best tastes that have ever danced upon my tongue. And finally, how the evening breeze that signals dusk tickled our bare feet as we marched inside because of the cold, and the sudden warmth from the fireplace that chased us back outside, laughing, is the best I’ve ever felt. There will always be hard times and when we are far away from each other we will miss each other, but I can always feel some of the wonderful euphoria strong enough to last the rest of my life.