|There would be water, and sand, and bicycles, and tiny shells, and impossible infinite hours|
In this perfect world, the small group of us would pack up supplies, get on our bicycles, and ride for hours down to the sea. I would spend much of the ride near one of the group, an infuriating woman. Our destination, more specifically, would be sand dunes, an isolated spot at the end of a narrow road, the time of year, late summer. We would ride most of the day to get there, but planning to spend the night, our supplies would include camping items, and food, and beverages, to see us through till morning.
In late summer, in these dunes by the sea, the evening breezes would chill us, so we would build fires out of the wood of the thin fences that would seem to have been put up to retain the sands. We would bring various stunningly tasty food items, which would illustrate a level of planning and intent second only to the positively inspiring steps taken to ensure that the beverages would be ice cold.
After heating and eating our foil-wrapped gourmet beach fair, and enjoying the beverages, as the components of this perfect world have already been listed above, the players in this drama outlined, the setting well described, the night would find its own way.
In such a place, with this group, the world's problems could be discussed, with possibilities for amelioration of suffering, with open-minded willingness to accept, to seek out, to learn and understand, forming the core values of our ardent verbal meandering. Dreams defined and refined, memories replayed and embellished. It's also possible that it would be suggested, and seconded, and toasted exuberantly, that at least some of the world's problems might be lessened, somehow, with bicycles.
At sunrise, sun coming up over the water, the third and final carefully engineered element, hot and excellent strong coffee, would be brewed, and provided to all in appropriate cups. Wrapped in blankets, warming in the rising light, the infuriating woman would break out the fresh fruit and muffins, pass them around, sit next to me under the blanket, smash a muffin into my mouth. She and I would have spent hours in the night by the fence fire, talking.
In late summer, in these dunes by the sea, we would take one last look around this perfect world, at the sunbeams burning off the morning fog over the water, at the ribbon of sand winding off in both directions, at our bikes, and at the blue sky, and feel in no hurry whatever to set off, back. The infuriating woman's hand in mine. The sound of the waves would seem to mark a moment without limits: that this ride out to the dunes would be all end and beginning compressed into one daylong memory movie of laughter and unbounded goodwill.
Have I experienced this perfect world, by bicycle, before? I can't be certain. But, I know that I think about it often, and smell the sea and imagine the blanket, the coffee at morning, the sunrise, the hours of conversation. When it does happen again, I'll be able to tell: if she turns to me after our hours of talk, lays her head on my shoulder, and said that she's never done that before, I will know that it was the first time, since I will ask, never done what before? And she'll look up at me, and say, spending all night on a beach, in the dunes, talking, just talking like that, to another person. Then I'll know, and it will be perfect.