And suddenly, there was no more time.
It ran right past me, it flew on by. It pulled at my hair as it soared through, lifting curls from my shoulders and daring me to hold them down. It slipped through my fingers, unperturbed by my clenched fists. It rustled through my skirts and it tugged at my laces, taunting, tempting, goading me to chase after every hour, every minute, every infinitesimal second.
What happened to the endless days of sunshine that had once lain ahead of me? To where did the countless weeks disappear? Did they evaporate into the thick fog of humidity that encircles the city? Did the months slide from my skin like the sweat that seeps from my pores?
All my days are gone, and I do not know where they went.
Or do I?
There are trees. So many trees. They flash past my window, each individual trunk breaking apart the infinite blue of the sky. The breeze catches at my hair, caressing my face. It reaches in, grasping the music spilling from the speakers and dragging it into the outside air. The base reverberates beneath my feet, flowing up my legs and pumping through my arms like blood.
It is the simplest of all joys, and it is by far the greatest.
There is water. It is murky, and yet it is crystal clear. With each swell it kisses the sandy shore, an infinite expanse of ocean, breathing in and out. The salt burns my throat. It stings my eyes. It clogs my ears and clouds my vision.
I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else but here.
Here, where the sun overhead colours both my skin and my soul.
There are mice. There are mice and ducks. There are mice and ducks and dogs and chipmunks, princesses and pirates, mermaids and princes. Everyday is a new day, with a new face, and a new story. Each new story brings a multitude of people; people that smile, and people that sneer.
I do it for the smiling ones.
For the grateful ones.
For the genuine, kind, and happy ones.
There is noise. It is obnoxious and loud. We only serve to add to it, with the stomping of our feet and the peals of our laughter. Roller coasters rise up ahead of us, bloodcurdling screams calling us closer. Everywhere people are falling.
I am falling too, but the hands that grip me never fail to pull me back up.
There are moments. Moments of chatter, of laughter, of song and of silence. These moments encircle us, all of us, balancing out our sanity from the chaos. They keep us lifted. They keep us soaring.
There are moments when time defies the predetermined laws of its own existence, and life pauses, frozen still. These are the moments when everything stops, and time allows me nothing but an eternal second to take it all in.
There is a glass on the verge of toppling, the first splashes of liquid caught on a stray shirtsleeve. There is a cake pop missing an ear, and a cold slice of pizza abandoned on the table. The lights are on, and the television is whirring away in the background. There are mattresses on the floor, blankets piled up on every available surface.
There are voices muted in conversation. There are eyes that sparkle as lips curve into grins and mouths open in radiant merriment. These are the faces of my friends. This is the joy that they have shared with me, and this is the reason that my time here has been so incredibly effervescent.
When I look back on Florida, on the six months I spent engulfed in the heat and immersed in the crowds, my friends are the ones who I will remember. They are the ones who will riddle my memories with colour and song. Because they are the ones who had my heart while I was here.
And they have it still.