I bathe in the luster of a thousand blooming sunflowers — sinking deep into nature’s tender embrace.
In the sky shines the gazing sun, gently caressing my skin.
The droplets of sweat trailing down my body are tears of joy.
From being alive at this very moment and experiencing such warmth and tranquility.
This is Paradise.
“Is — k, c-me h-re”
Unintelligible noise breaks through that invisible barrier separating me from the outer world.
And, however much I try to ignore that buzzing sound, it only comes closer and closer yet.
The sun, unfortunately, gets obstructed by red hair wafting over my face.
“Earth to Isak, stop lazying around and get back to work, you bum!”
Thus I am released from nature’s embrace, unwillingly.
Too early, far too early.
I release a stream of angry-sounding grunts at my fiery-haired childhood friend.
But she just moves her hand onto mine, a quirky smile forming on her too-perfect lips.
And I do not know if it is the warmth of her hand touching mine or that enticing smile of hers, but my anger quickly subsides, turning into something else.
Turning into love. The previous moment has passed, and now I have entered into another, another moment that is just as precious.
I squeeze her hand back with loving affection and take in the softness of her skin, salvaging all that makes now into now.
She gives me an impatient but amused look.
“Fine, let’s go then, you red-haired devil who robbed me of paradise.”
I let her lead my dazed body to its feet, but I do not release her hand.
Together we walk across this field of cultivation, hands intertwined and enjoying the bliss of the present.
Enjoying it all the more.
Because it is fleeting.
Because that’s what makes it special.