“How are you?” Rick said. “And don’t say ‘surviving’.”
Dana looked at her long-time friend’s face, with raised eyebrows, wide eyes, and pursed lips. He cared. She scanned the crowd at Coffee Beans Et Alia. It was a busy day and there were a lot of people to scan.
“It’s not easy to talk about.” Grief isn’t something that can be shared. It’s a lot like being alone at Coffee Beans Et Alia during the rush. Someone took care of your order then you were on your own in the middle of a crowd.
“I know it’s sad,” Rick said.
“Yeah, that too.”
“Anything I say is going to cause worry,” Dana said.
“For f— sake, circling around the issue isn’t allaying my concerns!”
“If you hadn’t dropped the f-bomb, you’d sound like a psychiatrist or something.”
“I’m your friend that happens to be a…”
“I know. I’m prickly today.”
“Yeah, and probably for awhile.”
“I’m an orphan now,” Dana said.
“The definition includes being a child,” Rick said.
“You’re always a child with your parents. Now mom is gone too, so I’m parentless. Ergo, I am an orphan.” The thought left Dana floating. Not just floating, but crowd surfing. Those beneath her were her friends and family, keeping her head above water until she could swim again.
“You’re acting like your alone. You’re not.”
“I know. But I am lonely. Rick, I had my first heartbeat with her.”
Rick reached across the table and wrapped his hand around her hand that cradled her mug. She put her other hand over his. The physical connection was warm and spread through her cold hands and up her arms all the way to her heart. Her heart muscles relaxed and the tightness in her chest released.
“How’s the new dog?” Dana asked Rick.