• Elizabeth Bartasius

Joy Smells Like Piss on the Seine

Joy looks like...

Connor, the dog, shredding a coconut.

A hot pink bougainvillea tree wild and gorgeous, free of the landscapers clippers.

Word count: 30,000+ words. I did it! The book is done. The Elegant Out has been birthed.

Orion’s constellation, bright under a new moon.

A shooting star caught from the corner of my eye.

A seahorse floating on the sandy bottom.

Six juvenile spotted eagle rays swimming in formation.

Joy sounds like...

Off shore breezes whirling through palm fronds.

A tuxedo kitten meowing with pride; he just caught his first mouse.

Yellow monarch flitting paper-thin wings.

The Pop! of a blood-sucking mosquito when I swat it with the Jolt.

The pestle grinding 1 tsp. of coriander seeds against the marble mortar. Chai will be ready soon. Join me for tea?

Benjamin answering the phone sweet as if we are still newly weds.

Owls hooting, bananaquits chirping, great white egrets swooshing expansive wings.

The ping of an “I lips you” text from hubby & life journeyman.

Son, Cameron strumming his newest song over Sunday afternoon Skype chats.

The propellers of the sea plane taking me on an exotic down-island adventure.

Minus-five-degree snow report while I lounge in tank tops in the Caribbean.

Tennis balls zinging down the line of a hard court.

A West Indian woman peddling her kale as I pass her farm stand, basket overflowing with just-harvested food on my arm.

Joy feels like...

A nap on a pool patio in tropical shade.

Feet on stone warmed by the sun.

My kiddo, 16, a lean drummer with hairy legs, resting his head against his mother’s shoulder.

Rain drops as I dash from the parking lot to the yoga studio.

Wind blasting my face on a sail trip to Buck Island.

My love’s hand in mine.

Joy smells like...

Serena’s Indian cooking.

Benjamin’s cup of dark roast as we sit in on the porch in the morning light.

Joe’s eggplant parmesan.

Piss on a lover's walk along the Paris Seine.

Damp moss on Vancouver’s ancient forest floors.

West Indies roti on the pot-holed streets of Christiansted.

Cut lemongrass steeping in boiled water.

Cloves pinned to oranges at my mother’s holiday parties.

Rotting fish on Connor’s fur coat as he returns after stolen getaways.

Joy tastes like...

Lemon water.

Hard fingers nails I bite when I’m excited about a story.

A mouthful of sea salt from a dive off the paddleboard.

Bonfire smoke that burnt 100s of pieces of paper on which we wrote all the things we vowed to “let go.”

Homemade pizza and movie nights, 14 people snuggled in the living room, leaving popcorn kernels and chocolate couch stains in their wake.

What does joy look like for you? Smell like? Feel like? Sound like? Taste like?