The hypnotist asked me what it was, what that one, perfect happiest time was, and waited for my answer.

I thought back, trying to dig up memories of twenty-two years, comparing them to each other, trying to evaluate when I was most at peace, trying to distill that one perfect moment from my life.

And all I could think of were the days after I had just purchased my first piece of furniture, my bed, in the house the three of us were renting, before the fire:

Dinner at a trendy bar and grill, a food fight threatening to erupt between the three of us, as mashed potatoes and sugar packets get casually tossed at each other between giggles.

Lying in bed with her, laughing, her sweat still on my skin.

Smoking and drinking coffee at a rowdy café, watching grown men climb over themselves to contribute to the art on the walls with sharpie markers and blunt knives.

And then I had to leave, because I knew nothing else could compare.