From the cavern that’s my purse, the distinct sound of a text message.

The light is red.

I glance at my screen.

My friend has just lost her brother-in-law.

And canceled our lunch.

Sorry for the short notice, she has added as a P.S.

I blink and search for a tissue.

It is strange that someone I’ve never met has the power of making me sad.

Since my father’s premature and unexpected death last June, tears come easily to my eyes when I hear about someone’s passing.

It is also strange – in a more cynical way – that someone who has left earth has the power of making a lunch date happen or not.

When my father died, my large family crafted all kinds of complicated arrangements to be there to say goodbye.

Death and life are very close companions.

Someone honks.

The light has turned green.

I catch up with the car ahead of me.

On the bumper of the white Camry, a sticker jumps at me.


And despite the fact that I’m sad for my friend, for her family, sad about death, and my sad thoughts, a small smile grows inside me.

When I was so new in the States that my eyes weren’t big enough to take in every foreign detail, I spent a lot of time to decipher the American custom license plates, the personalized holders, and the bumper stickers.

No French driver would have expressed opinions, made cultural and religious statements, or endorsed a political party in such a blatant way.

Many messages were so ecliptic that it took me months, sometimes more, to get their meaning.

TGIF was one of them.

Since I wasn’t working back then and didn’t go out, there was no reason for me to know that Thank God (or Goodness) It’s Friday was both an American restaurant chain and an expression.

For a reason that escapes my control, I will have a solitary Friday lunch.

Instead of the café where my friend and I were supposed to meet, I drive to the park.

On my way I swing by Starbucks.

What can I get for you, miss? Tim – I also love reading nametags – asks.

I grab a sandwich and a bottle of water in the small window.

Anything else?

That’s it for today, thanks.

Hey, it’s Friday! Have a good one.

Thanks, you too.

The sun peeks through the bare branches of the trees. In response to the lack of water in California the native oaks have switched to conservation mode and have lost their leaves.

A small death, if you will.


P.S. As a closure to the Weekly Writing Challenge, which I completed, a pinch of salt and a dash of pepper to flavor your lunch:

1-    As a writer who is living between two languages, a theme and guidelines keep me focused. This is why I participate occasionally to the Daily Post Challenges.

2-    Observing my surroundings and jotting down notes is something I am accustomed to do. Yet this week was unusual because I did it every day, on purpose.

3-     In an interesting and unplanned fashion I was offered a variety of situations, which allowed me to write very different posts. Life offers a large palette of emotional and sensorial experiences, and focusing on a moment of solitude to absorb them while letting my mind wander was liberating.

4-    If you missed my posts from Monday to Friday, here they are:

Monday: Lunch on Martin Luther King Day

Tuesday: Everyone Deserves a Break

Wednesday: American Breakfast

Thursday: Through the Looking-Glass

Friday: TGIF

And thank you to the bloggers who have liked my posts, commented on them, linked them to their blog, or emailed me.



  1. Profound observation of the ties between life and death.
    I’ve always lived in the States and haven’t traveled abroad, and I’m still sometimes surprised about the opinions some advertise on their vehicles!

  2. giselacarmona says:

    Loved all your lunch posts… You helped me complete the challenge with your insightful, beautiful, poignant posts… have a great weekend!

  3. Thank you so much, Gisele for your kind words. Bravo for finishing the challenge, too.
    Enjoy your weekend.

  4. Martha Kennedy says:

    I find this almost unbearable. One of my closest friends was recently diagnosed with ALS. We’re talking about it on the phone. After a long while, my phone starts beeping. The battery is almost out of juice. I tell my friend. We say our “I love yous” and hang up and I think “That conversation ended because of a dead phone battery.” It did not seem banal; it seemed metaphoric.

  5. A lovely, contemplative post. Being someone who also lives in a country to which she has migrated, your line about ‘my eyes weren’t big enough to take in every foreign detail’ was very descriptive of my own experience in coming to Australia. I, too, lost my father in the passed year and find things effect me emotionally and unexpectedly at times. xx

    • Thank you so much for your thoughtful comment. Yes, the experience of being from ‘somehere else’ is universal as is death. Glad you found common points between my experience and yours.

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