I slipped out of the house around 7pm, and drove to Mark and Janine's. I spent quality time with Janine in the bathroom, doing make-up and putting purple streaks in my pig-tails. (I couldn't do that at home because I didn't want to explain to Moe why Mommy could colour on her hair but he couldn't.) It felt like high school, but without the angst.
Mark graciously drove us to the Byward Market, where we miraculously found parking. (That alone warranted furious happiness.)
Then we wandered. Our first stop was the Clarendon Courtyard, where I watched small children dance in pools of light. We also met a whole herd of adorable clay pachyderms, and got to sit down and make our own. It has been so long since I've been able to sit down and create something leisurely. It was wonderful. Once our elephants were complete, we set them up on a courtyard stone, peering longingly into the dining room of Mamma Grazzi's.
We saw innovative photography conversations. We wandered through someone's memory scape. We dressed up in costumes and posed at photo booths. We painted. We met a couple of really sweet dogs. We watched Marie Antoinette stand in a cake and sing La Marseillaise, which, you have to admit, is pretty ironic. We turned a light post on and off. We listened to ourselves hug. We indulged ourselves gastronomically and artistically. It was fantastic.
I was initially determined not to make a single compromise and be unapologetically selfish. (My friends were aware of this, and embraced it.) But then I realized that I didn't want to be. It was enough to wander with good friends, laugh, even sing a little, and watch the people and the city around us come to life. If one of them had said, "I can't leave until we walk 15 blocks east to see something in which you have absolutely no interest," I would have said, "Sure!"
I have not felt that young or carefree in a long time. It made me furiously happy. It was a magical evening.