Lunch with a Friend


by Amy Grayson

Today is my birthday, and my best friend is treating me to lunch. That’s what friends do. We are seated outside of a small café on St Charles Avenue. The day is beautiful. The air a bit warm for early spring, but still quite pleasant when compared to the steamy New Orleans’ summer that is soon to come. We are already deep in conversation when the waiter comes to take our order. Neither of us has had a chance to look at the menu. We are talking and laughing - laughing about things that are silly only to us. We are reliving old memories and resurrecting old regrets. We are gossiping, we are scheming, and we are planning vacation trips. We are complaining about gaining weight, wondering if we should grow our hair longer and if a new relationship is going to last. It is hard to believe that she has been my across the street neighbor and best friend for over 20 years. When I point this out, she only laughs and remarks about how old we are getting. The waiter comes back and this time we stop our conversation long enough to place our order. I know that she will ask for extra lemon in her water, she will get her salad dressing on the side, and she will never order something with a sauce because she hates it when her food blends together. She is my best friend, and I know all these things.

We still have time. Time before our conversations will focus on hospice and home health care. Time before she will worry about who will take care of her dog  and who will take care of selling the house.  Time before we talk about the service and final arrangements….should the wake be in the evening or in the morning, what music should be played, and should she wear the black or the burgundy dress. We will eventually decide that the burgundy will clash with the pink lining of the casket, and she could spend eternity looking like a kindergartener’s valentine card. We will still laugh, but we will also cry. We will still talk, but we will also sit for hours without saying a word. I will learn new things about my friend of 20 years. I will learn that watermelon snowballs won’t nauseate her, I will learn when she needs morphine, and I will learn that she truly does believe in heaven.  But most importantly, I will learn how to love someone when it is time to help them let go. That’s what friends do.

It is still four more months before cancer will rob her of her life and me of my best friend. But that time has not yet come. Today is beautiful. The streetcars are slowly trudging up the avenue, the crepe myrtles are starting to fill with blooms and today she is laughing. Our words melt one right into the next as the cadence of conversation drowns out the constant passing of time. Over ice tea and appetizers, we carelessly let the afternoon drift away. For a few hours, we forget about cancer and chemotherapy. We forget about dying. We forget about saying goodbye. We forget. Or we simply pretend to forget. Because that’s what friends do.

Bio: Amy Grayson is a native of Montgomery, Alabama who now resides in Prairieville, Louisiana. A lover of all of the arts, Amy enjoys painting, music, gardening, photography, reading and writing. She has a degree in Pharmacy from Auburn University and a Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from Louisiana State University.  She is currently an owner of Dutchtown Animal Hospital, a small animal medical and surgical hospital in Dutchtown, La.

1 comments:

  1. Such a beautiful tribute to a friend. This Thanksgiving it is a sweet reminder to cherish our time together.

    ReplyDelete

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Belle Rêve Literary Journal is a southern literary experience. Our mission is to capture everything that makes the South and its residents unique through the best contemporary literature we can find. We publish new works weekly.