“We need to get together more often,” my friend Beautiful Hair and I used to always say to each other. When our kids were small, just meeting for a cup of tea took all kinds of planning. But now that our kids are grown up — all in their twenties — we can meet for dinner without getting babysitters or bribing husbands or worrying about what the gang at home is eating for supper.
So we’ve been taking advantage of this new freedom. We met yesterday evening at our new favourite spot, a coffeehouse in the neighborhood where Beautiful Hair grew up. We sat outside at a wrought iron table, sharing our food: a quinoa salad made with black beans, tomatoes, and corn, a spinach salad made with fresh strawberries, pecans, and a balsamic vinaigrette. The organic apple juice I drank tasted so good, so much better than the vending machine juice I often drink at work, that I kept trying to analyze it. Finally I figured out what I liked. “It actually tastes like apples,” I said to Beautiful Hair. She laughed.
When Beautiful Hair went into the coffeehouse to use the bathroom, I stared at the edge of the building and tried to puzzle out the letters I saw. The vertical lettering read: OFE the OL. It made no sense. I finally figured out that OFE could be part of the word coffee but I didn’t see how there was any room for the other letters, even if they had somehow fallen off. Besides, painted letters don’t fall off the way the letters on neon signs do. Perhaps it was some kind of acronym the way LOL is? Maybe it was coded for a younger crowd. It wasn’t until we moved away from the building that I could see the other side of the building, which supplied the missing letters: COFFEE for the SOUL. Ah, that made more sense.
Even though we’d talked the whole time we were eating, we weren’t talked out yet, so we walked along the side streets of the neighborhood. After the hard winter we had, it felt wonderful to be able to stroll about in the evening in just a t-shirt and shorts. It felt wonderful to walk on a sidewalk that’s not blocked by big walls of snow. Many of the homes had flower gardens that were lush with blooms. We saw pink peonies, purple irises, and bright daisies.
“I love this time of year,” I said to Beautiful Hair, and she nodded. “We all do.”