“Happiness,” said Maria, “is that kid down there on the skateboard pretending he’s Superman.”
“No,” said Jack leaning over the balcony to look. “Happiness is that blonde girl trying to catch bubbles.”
“Stop being philosophical,” laughed Maria, squeezing his arm.
“You started it.”
The bubbles drifted higher as a flock of boys on push scooters swooped towards the swings.
“Maybe happiness is that boy on the climbing frame,” said Jack after careful consideration.
“No, that’s just a broken arm waiting to happen,” answered Maria with a grimace.
“Alright then,” shrugged Jack, taking Maria’s hand. “Happiness is the warmth between our fingers.”
They sat in silence for a while, watching the swings and wincing at the shrieks of the blissful.
“My palms are beginning to sweat,” announced Maria wrinkling her nose.
“Maybe happiness is that girl in yellow?” she asked.
“The one doing laps of the slide?” he replied. “You think happiness is running in circles?”
“No,” said Maria. “Happiness is the part where you get dizzy.”
—Written from a Spanish balcony, dodging a million ants, looking out over a busy playground. July 2011.