It shouldn’t be so difficult to think of times when I was happy, but it was. I keep thinking I will look down at the page and it will change, but it doesn’t. In the end, I chose memories that at least made me happy in the moment of their passing. I think, maybe, it was too abstract for me. I look back on times in my life that I felt happiness, and I cannot reduce it to moments. They are fleeting, shimmering like the surface of water, my memories just colorful stones in the bed. I remember airless, buzzy moments sitting in circles with fairweather friends, surrounded by smoke and mirrors — laughter and whimsy — and even though, I suppose, one is not allowed to recall drug addiction as happiness, I remember clear euphoria that could not be reduced to moments. Daniel and I have been together for four years. Should I not have a vast inventory of happy moments to choose from there? Of course. But can I name them, categorize them? No. I review them as if by flipbook, passing rapidly beneath my thumb — Daniel’s laughter, Daniel’s hands, Daniel’s kiss, — soft, warm moments and rapid heartbeats.
Point is, I don’t think I was cut out for filling this list the way it wanted me to. I’d like to see others’ lists, because clearly my mind is not built for this one.
- Bringing baby Lakota home.
- I have loved wolves since I was very small, and I always wanted one. In my adulthood, I know wolves and wolf hybrids are not pets, but when I was young I could not give up the fantasy. In 2002, my parents found an ad for a family nearby that had bred a litter. In retrospect, the blood percentage they quoted us is very likely inaccurate, but I remember ShiningStar and Oachu, and seeing the wolf in them, and I watched an eight week old pup grow into a strong, beautiful adult who never, not even for a moment, behaved like a dog. On January 5th of 2017, we sent Lakota to rest, after fifteen long years of life. He was dear to me, and will be remembered.
- Mine and Daniel’s first kiss.
- I won’t tell the story, but the reason I chose this memory (and would stand by it even if we part someday), is because there are still kisses now, four years later, that feel precisely as exciting as that first one. Dude can kiss.
- Solo renting my first apartment.
- Even though I ended up hating that particular apartment.
- Seeing my Before & After pictures.
- I started at 260 pounds and got to my smallest about two years later, in 2012. That was about 205 pounds, which I’d like to get back to, as I’ve gained maybe ten or fifteen pounds during a long and challenging period of Depression.
- The first time I saw Sara and said, “I want her!”
- It was just after we got our first house in Arizona, and I was maybe 9 or 10. My parents said I could get a dog, and I was stoked because I hadn’t had one in years. I wanted to go straight to the pound before “the good ones” were gone, but my mom had a lead on one dog who’d been taken in by some people who were sort of a halfway house for shelter dogs. I didn’t want to go, but Mom insisted. I was fully prepared to get back in the car and go to the real pound when Sara walked out, all leash-pulling and grass-sniffing and I was in love at the sight of her. She was my best friend for sixteen years.
- When Howard walked again.
- Howard had gone on an adventure, as he was apt to do, and he came back ailing from a spinal injury. Less than 48 hours he was howling in pain at the lightest touch, and we had to carry him to the vet in a blanket because there was no other way to move him. They said he’d never walk again without surgery. I nursed him back to health on our back porch, and he ran wild until a natural death at age fourteen in 2016.
- #iowacalling2014 and surprising my mom.
- I moved back to Arizona in 2012 and wasn’t able to fund a trip home until two years later. I flew back in secret and surprised my Mom at work.
- Leo winning the Oscar.
- When Argus came home (the dummy).
- There was a time when we lived in Iowa that our boy, Argus, ran off and didn’t come back. That was very, very unlike him, and so we worried deeply. He stayed gone nearly 24 hours before he turned back up, and I think he could sense our worry, because he stayed close to home after that.
- When they announced Jurassic World.
- When I got my IUD.
- I never want children, and so my IUD (and the Affordable Care Act that made it possible) came quite close to what I might qualify as a divine blessing.
- Every moment that J.K. Rowling has given me.
- When I got above minimum wage.
- Spreading my book(s) out on my bedroom wall.
- I write scenes on index cards and post them on my wall in chronological order, for the purposes of viewing the book like a storyboard for a movie. When I finished my outline for my first book in a series, I felt extremely accomplished.
- Seeing the Instagram feeds today, about the Women’s March on Washington.
I think, perhaps, I should aspire to a longer list. I struggled to concoct this one, and to add more to the end as I typed this entry.