we wrote down words on paper and planned.
her curls were pulled back professional and she made a list because she breathes lists. who will bring what, who will sit where. she sees it in her mind and the simplicity of planning is always as bright as the first snow for her.
i’m sitting across the small table and feeling out of sorts. the sun is shining through the windows in the middle of the neighborhood surrounded by blight, but inside this restaurant it bustles like new york at christmas time.
we walk carefully around the edges of the holes in our hearts. i tell her about a hard phone call and she tells me about a doctor’s appointment. our relationship like a friendship, but beyond that, too.
funerals and births. driving over in the night to make sure people aren’t alone. family can be little more than a support beam. their quiet existence their greatest asset. the waitress can’t split the bill and she takes out her card and covers the bill.
so i’m gathering close. i want little more than to sit close and excuse all your faults this holiday, hoping you’ll overlook mine. the cold air sends us inside and asks us to face up to the folks that we know so well. and i say okay. more than that. i say yes, please, sign me up.
fire in the fireplace. grandfather in a hospital bed. mother making gravy from scratch. children rubbing their eyes, up too late, full. buying rum at the liquor store. phone call to the father i can’t see with my own eyes. digging through the recipe box. family. friends. thankful.