Happiness was smiles,
giggles and screams

It was going to the playground on a sunny afternoon
and making a new friend that I only ever saw once.
It was five more minutes.
It was climbing and sliding.

It was splashing in puddles
and running in the rain.
It was playdates
and adventures.

It was going to the shop
only to come home with new toys.
It was playing pretend,
reading stories, building forts

Happiness was pancakes, cartoons,
cotton candy, carousels,
going to the movies, a round of bowling
melted ice cream making a mess.

Happiness was everywhere because I knew nothing else.

Happiness is gentle;
A crescendo to pure joy

It's sitting on the swings,
music playing from my phone,
talking to the friends I've known for years.
Teenagers at the park

It's still the rain
though I can't articulate why.
It's still adventures,
but this time I'm alone

It's walking my dog
and knowing this time
means more to her
than I'll ever understand

It's sleepovers with no sleep.
Dungeons and Dragons and adventures of the mind.
It's Netflix late at night
feasting on the snacks in my room.

It's 3am,
texting my friend,
asking about the logistics of centaur biology,
because it would be cool if centaurs were real.

It's giving.
Giving nicely wrapped presents.
Sharing my time and my knowledge.
Baking for friends.

It's donating
and knowing someone benefits.
No longer being attached to material possessions.
Clarity and organisation

Happiness is cooking
a fresh and tasty meal.
And the microwaved creations
that add a spark to the darker days

Happiness is when I tell a joke
and my friends laugh until they cry.
It's when someone adds to it
and we just can't compose ourselves.

It's the group chat
celebrating each other,
supporting each other,
and sharing memes

It's roses blooming
and the bees around the lavender bushes.
It's yellow dandelions dotting the lawns
and low hanging fruit ready for picking.

Happiness is small sometimes,
competing with sadness,
but the more I look for it,
the more I see the balance of the two.

Happiness will be warm
and it will be freeing

It will be my own house,
decorated to my taste,
music blasting,
smelling of fresh fruits.

It will be a dinner party
with all my friends
sharing food like we used to,
still as greedy as seagulls

It will be jokes around the table
and laughing too loud in restaurants,
bars, and cafes,
oblivious to the world around us

It will be a garden
in full bloom
with mossy lawns
and native birds

It will be a dog,
or two,
or three.
And a large fish tank.

Happiness will be lazy weekends
with someone I love.
Picnic dates and museum trips.
Our own little world.

It will be a night at home
cuddled on the couch
falling asleep in each other's arms
knowing we'll grow old together

It will be acceptance
and pride.
No more living in fear.
No more secret identity.

It will still be rain,
and fire,
and a spring breeze,
and the warm glow of the sun.

And adventures
around the world,
or in my mind.
I'll always be an explorer.

It will be sleep
coming easy.
No more fighting inner demons.
No more late-night tears.

It will be giving
and learning to receive
or to ask in the first place.
It will be using my voice

Happiness will return
I promise myself.
No need to hunt to down.
I just need to be patient.