June 26, 2013

Breakfast at the Eggplant

It’s a little diner that serves breakfast any time, night or day, and it’s been there for as long as I can remember. The wooden tables are lined up close together, so that you never know whom you might brush elbows with, and there are stools at the counter for folks in a hurry.

This morning I took a seat in the sunny corner by the window, my favorite spot, so that I could watch people as they came in the door. I was meeting my friend Brown Eyes for breakfast, but I kept seeing other people I knew. First, a colleague from Little Green who waved hello when I sat down. Then two of my students from last semester came in together: they reported that they’re having a great summer. Brown Eyes and I were deep in conversation when I heard someone else call my name — a poet friend I don’t see very often any more. I went over to give her a hug before getting back to my oatmeal and muffins.

Brown Eyes and I hadn’t seen each other in years, so we had a lot of catching up to do. She looks exactly the same, but it seemed a shock to hear how old her four kids were. “Your daughter is 25?” I kept saying. “How did that happen?”

I remember when her oldest child was a baby. Whenever we’d go out to a park, she’s put a little hat on him to protect him from the sun and wind, and her husband and mine would keep teasing her about the bonnet, which apparently was not sufficiently macho. I didn’t have any kids yet, so I spent a lot of time holding and playing with the baby. It’s hard to believe that was 28 years ago.

I think it’d been six years since we shared a meal together, but I didn’t feel any reserve. We plunged right into serious topics, skipping any preliminaries. She and I have always been honest with each other, and this conversation was no different. It’s amazing how much ground you can cover in just a couple of hours.

“This is a new stage of our lives,” she said, and I agreed. Our kids are grown up. And I guess that makes us old, although it doesn’t feel that way. Instead it feels like we’ve gone back in time, and we’ve got all this new space opening up in our lives.


Rev Dr Mom said...

Somehow seeing how grown up other people's kids are makes me feel older than looking at my own kids. Weird I know.

And I don't really feel old; I like the way you put it about having new space open up in our lives.

L said...

awww... you and your myriad of friends. Glad to be one of them, a pretty recent one (only about 9 years) compared to everyone else in your life.

I hope we'll get to see you in August again. We haven't planned our itinerary yet. We'll run our dates by you & plan according to when you'll be there.

Tonya Bernstein said...

I used to live in Snowstorm city and I remember the Eggplant. I haven't thought about that place in years! I haven't lived there in over 20 years, but you brought back memories like it was just yesterday.

Sandy said...

Old friends are the best.

Maine Writer said...

Whenever I'm feeling blue, I always know the sound of your voice will make me feel better. It comes through so rich and vibrant in these posts, it's like we're sitting in the same (hotel) room. Thank you.

jo(e) said...

Aw, thanks, Maine Writer.