Friday. The tail end of the tail end of a school year that never got a proper send-off. The kids done a week ago, but no true Last Day of School, because of school closures because of evacuations because of flooding. Another week of work for me, by choice but not really: an office to clean, documentation to file, desperate interviews to fill our last 2 teacher openings. Not a difficult week, but still 3 more days than I had planned. Packing the last bag of things to go home, mourning my lack of celebratory plans, when: a text from a friend who lives too far away, now in town for a few weeks – am I busy tonight? Dinner, drinks? YES PLEASE.
My lovely friend picks me up in her fun red rental car, a happy drive down to my old neighbourhood, to throw some money around at businesses who lost revenue because of closures because of evacuations because of flooding. We find a good place, a busy pub jammed with a happy crowd. No empty tables, but there are 2 girls at a table for six, and they are friendly and so are we and so we share. We had hoped for patio, but the windows are huge and the breeze comes in, and it’s not that different indoors than out. Yummy food and good cold drinks and the kind of meandering, tangent-filled conversation that confirms a friendship immune to distance.
A walk through the neighbourhood, and then through the park I haunted in high school. An unsuccessful quest for something in the ice cream family, but we drive back up here to The Hills where there is a Brand! New! Ice! Cream! Shop! and we sit on the red vinyl benches until all the deliciousness is gone.
Home, to 9 hours between cool sheets, with a happy chihuahua curled behind my knees.
Morning full of sunshine. Coffee in my “garden” where my plants are finally starting to believe in themselves. Baking: a rhubarb-strawberry crisp, to take to my poor mum who has had a heartbreaking work week because of working in insurance during a flood. A hot shower, a pretty dress, hair braided off my face in preparation for an afternoon At The Theatre with Les Misérables. On my way out the door, a text from my brother: “We have too many ribs to eat. You want to come for dinner?”
3 hours with my mom and Jean Valjean and Javert and Cosette and Marius and poor, poor Eponine. Many tears and a standing ovation. A drive through rolling green to the Little Haus On The Prairie, where my brother and sister-in-law await us with ribs and homemade lemonade and beet salad and garden greens. We look at the view and talk about the flood and our bellies are full even before we get to the two (TWO!) desserts. A tour of the garden, a visit with the chickens. Cuddles from the new cat.
The long trip home through a sky glowing with sunset, across the city that holds my heart. Excited welcome from a wriggling, giggling chihuahua. A cup of tea in the gathering dark, and a thought:
If anyone, anywhere, has ever had a more perfect First Twenty Four Hours of Summer… I don’t even want to hear about it.
Happy Summer, Friends.