(I did some prompt writing the other night with my writing group, and this is what bubbled up for “the most beautiful thing I’ve seen….”)
It was June 1996. I was in a car with my Spanish host family, driving home from an afternoon spent at their beach house. We barbequed, drank wine, and enjoyed ice cream and cake for their grandson’s birthday. I settled in the backseat–warm, content, and a little buzzed.
We drove through the countryside, and I gazed out the window. It was the most beautiful sky I had ever seen. Soft. Golden. The haze softened the distant western mountains. The almond and olive trees appeared silver in the gold light.
I sat in the backseat of my host family’s Opel; we would be back in the city within a half hour. I was meeting my boyfriend and our friends for a night out. I gazed at that sky, enveloped by awe and wonder. I was 21 years old, and life would never be any better. I sat in a tiny car, driving through this golden sky, wanting to hold on to that moment–that sky and its promise–forever.
In a few weeks, I would be leaving the island that I had called home for nearly a year. We drove closer to the city, closer to the tall mountains. The sky shifted from gold to gray twilight. That beautiful moment, like my year in Spain, started to fade.