the feeling of riding in the back seat of the old Chevy wagon, my bathing suit still damp and smelling of the river. i'm 8 years old and i feel immortal, perfect, unselfconscious. my limbs are delightfully heavy from swimming, hair is whipping in my face as the wind blows in from the open window, every inch of skin the sun can find is as brown as a walnut shell, and my eyelids are heavy. every once in a while they slip closed and i see dreamslices dancing behind my eyes. when i open them (just a smidge), i see green canopies of leaves and creamy yellow sun. rarely have i felt so alive, so safe, so pleased, so loved. i know that when we get into town, i will get french fries and an orange soda. i will savor the salty sting on my lips and wipe the sticky orange moustache on the back of my hand. i will grin shyly at the cashier and share the food with my sister without being asked. this is summer, this is living, this is perfect.