My neighbor Jessie and I sat at my table chatting, watching out the window for the third member of our Lodi lunch adventure. When I saw her head peeking from the other side of the parked cars, a cream scarf above the black frames of her glasses, I darted out of the house. Then she arrived: my friend Suanne, who has kicked the ass of George, the tumor which grew inside of her a few short months ago.
The restaurant where we intended to go turned out to be closed. We reconvened at a pizza place with nearly identical orders. The constant conversation flowed around the table. Common interests emerged: the environment, healthy lifestyles, responsible parenting, animals. An hour later, we made our way to a couple of shelters. I’m thinking of getting a small dog. At the second place, a gaggle of little bodies sniffed our feet. All the while, Suanne beamed. I can’t say why she looked so cheerful, but I imagine it had something to do with still being alive.
Back at Angel’s Haven, we embraced and said goodbye. She strolled down our gravel road to the parking lot. I watched her sturdy form, marveling at her resilience. Once inside my house, I remembered the small package which she had handed me on arriving. When I saw what it contained, I did not feel the least bit surprised. I studied her gift for a long time, until the sunlight faded outside my window and evening settled on the room around me.
It’s the eleventh day of the sixty-first month of My Year Without Complaining. Life continues.