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.



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