Well, now. That wasn't bad, not bad at all. I actually liked being home at Dad's, which I didn't expect. I thought it might be too painful. Or confusing. Or both.
But it wasn't. I'm here to tell you that a year later, you can really start to remember the good stuff. You can paw through the cabinets while making bread and pull out the beat-up bread pan without your heart breaking into ten tiny pieces and clattering onto the floor. You can eat at her favorite restaurant and not cry (very much) in public. You can marvel that your dad still writes his grocery list in the same notebook she used: a continuity both unexpected and lovely.
And last night I was lucky enough to hang out with some of my writing pals from the old days. At Cal Poly, Al Landwehr was the best creative writing teacher there was. A posse of six of us glommed on to each other and called ourselves Al's Gals, stopping just short of posing with him as Charlie's Angels. We wrote, we cheered each other on, we critiqued. Five out of the six of us finalled in the college's end-of-year writing competition, and five out of the six of us are still writing (Wendy Conti: where are you?). We were TIGHT.
Twelve years later, three of us met up last night at Al's house, and it was like no time had passed at all. With the three of us and Al and his lovely wife Lynne, there were five story-tellers at the table, all of us equipped with huge laughs and a sense of comedic timing. There were cocktails in the garden, next to the fountain. At the dinner table, there was fresh bread and the first tomatoes of the year, along with pasta alfredo and ceviche and rhubarb pie. The talk ranged from publishing to motherhood to hospitals and back to editing. It was the nicest evening in recent memory, and I've had some damn good nights lately.
Now I'm home, and I'm getting reacquainted with the fish and the cats and the dogs and the wife. Lala and I have a date planned tonight: Neko Case at the Warfield. There will be a burrito found along the way, I'm sure. All is well.
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