The night falls faster in Miami. The sky turns pink around five in the afternoon as the sun begins its descent into the blueness that smells like infinity. White sand, which is scorching hot during the day, slowly cools down and patiently bears all the runners, foreign and local. Staying in shape has become a way of life in Florida. As I sit on one of the many beach recliners that the workers have forgotten to put away for the night, I admire the bustle of beautiful, athletic bodies in great shape and in a race against time that leaves unmistakeable signs of a passing life. As if we were trapped inside an hourglass, everybody striving for the perfect body, the temple of our thoughts and the keeper of our soul. The ocean behind my back becomes darker and still, in sight is only a fisherman without a licence that tries his luck with the huge tunas here and there, but a police officer is probably waiting right behind the corner to slap a ticket on him, best case; as it happens, I’ve witnessed a few arrests that looked like scenes from a movie, with sirens, handcuffs, sweaty bodies lying in the sand on the beach.
Miami is full of opposites, loud colours and graffiti that sting your eyes, and it’s also slow, stretched over time, full of white buildings, which become so blinding in the sunlight that you have to avert your eyes elsewhere. The streets are crowded with carefree, joyous people, the air is full of chatter and smiles, the kind you see on faces of people on vacation. I have discovered my perfect moment in this Babylonian chaos of cultures and impulses, in this never ending vortex. I got lucky, because not everyone finds their own and I’m pretty sure some are looking for it their whole lives without ever even recognising it. Sometimes, there is a strange set of mysterious coincidences and planets that somehow align without us even knowing, and things turn out to be in exactly the right place at the right time and with the right people. There were no people in my case, but it was nevertheless a deep encounter with myself, on a beach recliner with white and blue stripes, a book, full of positive thoughts, in my lap, wearing a white swimsuit, a straw hat on my head and a braid gently caressing my back. I am looking at the world around me from behind my big sunglasses, when the time suddenly, miraculously stops. In fear of silence and perfection that I don’t often experience, my ears twitch like an animal’s.
Perhaps I’m too busy surviving to remember living in between … I don’t know, but something definitely stopped. I can hear the sound of waves and I can feel the warm sun on my legs. Seagulls circle above, their rhythmical calls create a feeling of perfection. I know my daughter is safe back in the hotel room with her dad. As a mother, I’m always alert, but now my instincts switch off. That moment. A few seconds, a minute at most, I float weightlessly in a soap bubble, as though I were in a different dimension, far from the world, looking at the beach from above. I have no past and I need no future. I have no thoughts. I have no worries. I suddenly feel the perfection of this moment inside my veins and I wish it would last forever. Disbelieving, I realise everything is in its place. The bold colours of nature, the breeze that swirls the sand, the colourful lifeguard towers, the thin hissing sound in the air that muffles all other sounds. I would not change a thing, not even the blurry outlines of the people around me, sunbathing and enjoying their vacation moments in their own way. I sit completely still, afraid I’ll ruin the perfect moment, I cling to it desperately, and I quietly plead: Don’t leave.
I have often wondered what happened inside that minute. I was looking at the sky the same way a child is mesmerised at a fair, when all the lights suddenly went out and the carousel stopped. The perfection of that moment was magnificent and singular. Perhaps it was a gift of the cosmos to grant me an insight into the way things sometimes rearrange themselves perfectly and life goes on in perfect synchronicity that we fall eternally in love with.
I go back to that beach in Miami every year, hoping that I will get to experience the perfect moment again. It hasn’t repeated since, but I can still feel it within; not as a memory, but certainly as something more significant that lies beyond everything, every person and every event. We are granted, for some mysterious reason, to realise only a miniscule part of everything, and yet sometimes we can be lucky enough to look at life through the eyes of eternity.