Before the wedding, we went through our pictures to find a few of us from each season of our lives together. I came across this one and keep coming back to it. It's not a great picture - Luisa's cheek is squished and I'm not even looking at the camera. But I think I keep coming back to it because I remember that evening so well.
It was the end of the summer of 2008 and it was our last night in Portugal. We were just outside Lisbon at this little restaurant at a marina with our friends, Susan and Raquel, and our kids, Luca, Zeca and Miguel.
I don't remember what we ate but I remember we had a lot of good Portuguese wine and the kids had fondue. I remember laughing as the kids devoured the chocolate fondue, remember their big, messy, chocolate smiles. Then, they went off to play and we watched as they ran around in circles in the evening sun with the ocean as their backdrop.
I remember feeling so good which seemed almost impossible since my mother had died the month before that.
I had my friends and my family, good food and good wine, warmth and water. It felt easy and light.
It was one of those times when everything unfolds just as it should and gives you what you need, though you would never have been able to say, "Yes, this."
And I remember posing for pictures with Luisa while our friend, Raquel snapped away. I remember feeling grateful for Luisa's arms around me, for the crisp smell of her t-shirt, the familiar scent of her hair gel. I felt in love with her in a way that was old and comforting but also renewed.
We stayed until the sun set and it grew dark and then the seven of us made our way back to the apartment where we were staying and the next day we returned to the U.S.
Tonight, Luisa is in Trinidad and I am here but looking at this picture shrinks that distance somewhat. It's amazing what good memories can do.