We hadn't talked--not really talked--in a long while.
Much had transpired in both our lives.
We relay our stories, in between drinks and admiring glances at family photos pulled from our purses. As we each listen to the other's tales, we nod. Some stories elicit grins. Others cause one to draw in a breath and grasp the other's hand.
Life elicits a myriad of responses. Years condensed into one dinner outing encompass them all.
"So, are you happy?" one finally asks the other.
"Happy? I don't know." A pause. "Are you?"
The one simple question grows into an hour of contemplation. Because what is happiness?
Does happiness mean we wake each morning, eagerly anticipating both the expectations and the uncertainties of the day?
Does happiness mean our everyday activities provide us satisfaction?
Does happiness mean our loved ones bring us joy?
Does happiness mean we bring joy to others?
Does happiness mean we feel productive and somehow valuable?
Does happiness mean we can manage to laugh?
Does happiness mean that, amidst anything else, we retain hope? Or faith?
It's a broad and vague term, this idea of happiness. Meaning such different things to different people. Its connotations change even for ourselves, at varying times in our life. Something we once thought would ensure our happiness isn't, one day, enough. Something we never before dreamed might bring us contentment can unexpectedly make us sigh, and say, "Yes. This is good."
"Are you happy?" Neither of us truly answers the question tonight.
But before we leave, heading back to the comforts and the challenges of each of our lives, we smile and embrace each other. It is good.
And we realize that, maybe, happiness should be measured by an accumulation of single moments like this.