A visit to mum's and I need to get out. Not that there is anything wrong with spending time with her, watching her local news, catching up in person on the things we usually share when she phones. I want out of the country and her cottage reminds me of it too much. Reminds me of what I'm missing.I kiss her, tell her I'll be home in time for tea, dash into the sun. I feel like I'm flying as the gas pedal sinks closer to the floor and my eyes rise to the rear-view to check for flashing lights. The parking decks are more expensive in the city than I remember, but I happily give over a handful of crinkled bills to the attendant and grin at the ticket he puts in my sweaty palm. "It's been years since I've been here," I say with enough cheer to make him frown. I park and climb out to breathe exhaust.On the street, I walk quickly. So much has changed and it will be time for rush hour too soon as everyone makes the exodus to their separate suburbs just as I get back on the highway to make tea with mum. The street carts are there but the vendors are different, younger. I buy snacks, stuff them in my pockets. My feet carry me to the old places that are now new. I can see the top coat and freshly painted lines on the streets, but when I bend down close, I see remnants of the streets I knew. "Lose somethin'?"His voice is another familiar remnant and I turn. He smiles crookedly, just like always. "But you can't be here. You died years ago.""Knew you missed me," he says as he takes my hand. We walk and I know I'll miss tea.
I needed to write these 306 words. Stopped cooking dinner to do it, too. For those friends we love whose spirits will always inhabit our common and familiar haunts. Thoughts of them come on us suddenly, especially at the holidays. With love, Shalom and Merry Christmas.