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