By happenstance, I took myself out to lunch today; the planned meeting at the diner waylaid, me without my cellphone, the timing of communications off. When I realized my friend wasn't coming, I wavered before deciding to order anyway, to sit and listen to snippets of conversations amplified in the specific way of diners that makes it almost impossible to know who is saying what.
"...so she had to, you know, totally disinfect the whole thing and I was, like, eeeewww! But, you know, what else..."
"I can't believe he said that! Can you? Can you believe he said that?"
Then this, from the booth next to mine: "You need to be careful with them because they're very fragile. So you have to touch them only gently, okay?"
It was the older of two brothers, a boy of maybe 6 or 7, at most.
Did I even know the word "fragile" when I was that age? It's a word I rarely use without casting some kind of judgment, usually harsh.
But fragile is exactly the right word for right now. So much time spent opening memory boxes, casting around in hope of finding what's hidden inside. So many of those I love suffering, managing, coping as best they can. So many blue sky September days resonating with what happened on that one particular blue sky September day.
The boys left with their mom and grandmother. I dipped my spoon into a bowl of split pea soup and thought about how good each sip tasted.