Yes, it’s that simple. We ate dinner. We ate dinner at our favorite place in town, a Mexican restaurant where the staff are like family to us. For a while, a lot of the staff lived in the same apartment building as we do. It’s been a favorite of ours for years, and we’ve gotten to know them a little bit, and even learn a little Spanish.
As that developed over the years, we each get excited over developments in our lives. From the moment we told them that Becky was pregnant with Doria, they were overjoyed each and every time that we came in. Until that one time, a few days after we came home from the hospital.
We go almost every week. It’s not expensive. It’s great, and we love the people. After Doria’s death, we waited for a couple weeks, maybe three. It was going to be hard for us, and hard for them. When we finally did go, the first guy welcomed us, noticed that Becky was a thousand sizes smaller, and asked “Nina! How is the nina?” Oh, his smile was so big until Becky told him “muerte. Nina es muerte.” (Please pardon my Spanish misspelling here. It’s the best I can do to approximate what might or might not be correct.) His smile was gone. He told us how sorry he was, and quietly scurried off.
Our old neighbor was our waiter that day. He noticed, and he asked. He spoke again about 40 minutes later. We got through ordering, our food came, and you could actually see the waitstaff spreading the word, and the whole place went sad. It’s really something to have that effect on a room. Towards the end, he managed some small talk, and we had a nice time, even though all of us felt horrible.But, life goes on, right? Or something like that.
Tonight was the first time that our old neighbor was our waiter since that other fateful trip. We’ve been back several times, but that combination had not yet occurred. Tonight it did, and we all smiled and had a great time. It was predoristic, if you will, almost like our chats before Doria died. Great meal, we talked football, we talked life, it was very nice.
We learned right away that our presence can change the heart of a room. Thanks to Doria’s departure, we carry an elephant with us everywhere we go. We’ve been blessed to have so many people who care, and show that, even though things obviously aren’t ‘normal’ in the old sense of the word.
Tonight, we ate dinner. It was fantastic. We’re glad to have our favorite place back again.