Image: © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

Our favourite restaurant, our favourite table, meant a perfect celebratory lunch.

I barely had time to pull off my knapsack when my usual draft hard cider in a super-frosty glass arrived.

I tied bright balloons to the chair backs. Hues of blue, soft greens and maroon, bobbing gently as folks walked by. Eliciting smiles.

I made a show of looking over the menu; I always ordered the same thing. You were more eclectic in your tastes.

“Here’s to you; here’s to us,” I raised my glass to the empty chair.

Tears salted my plate of fish and chips.

Clinking Glasses on Skype Emoticons 1.2

C and I met at the Y circa 2017; we were in the same aquatic exercise class. She was taking tai chi; the practice was recommended to me for years. We bonded over tai chi, politics, spousal “issues”, coffee and treats, lunches out, thrift store shopping. I would blather; she loved to listen.

Late January/early February 2021, she had a devasting episode (aneurism or stroke). In a medically induced coma for a month, she is gradually regaining use of her right side, ability to communicate, personality. J & A have been faithful friends visiting weekly. I have tagged along on occasion.

I send cards, and keep her in my heart and in my “world.” When I do things we once did together – coffee, lunch, visiting a museum, shopping — I carry on a conversation as if she were there. She smiles when I relate what I’ve done in her honour. This week’s Friday Fictioneer prompt reminded me of our lunches out. And, I did celebrate her birthday at her favourite diner.

She loves the Jersey Shore; here she found love and companionship, Springsteen and freedom. Years later, she introduced me to boardwalks and funky neighbourhoods. She was so happy that Springsteen re-opened on Broadway in 2021 – two things she dearly loved.

This is my favourite Springsteen song – in honour of a special friend:

PS: Thanks to everyone who dropped by my Friday Fictioneer post last week; unfortunately, I didn’t make it to most folks’ contributions (and I may not have acknowledged all comments). Hopefully, this will be a better week for such pursuits.

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