Bob Evans, Fall 2005

I used to meet my Grams at Bob Evans every Thursday when I was in college. I return home in two days for the first time in eight months and I can't help but wish she was there waiting to see me. I wrote this after a Thursday lunch four months after I turned 21.

Grams picks up her coffee and puts her tongue in her cheek and I know she's about to say something heart-breaking and she doesn't even know it's going to crush me.

So I think nervously about something else and my feet start to sweat. I start looking around for something to focus on.

This crazy looking guy sitting by himself at the kitchen bar is staring sideways and smiling. A cook walks by not noticing him and the guy tips his coffee mug to him. He giggles. 

or maybe he has more of a secret than i know and is just content. not waiting for anything to fall in his lap. because maybe his lap is already great. he doesn't need to wait for anything to fall in it. 
then she drops the bomb.

"i was using grampa's old wallet. i had to get rid of it. it was falling apart...."

she looks down at her coffee cup and i wonder if this is the moment i should tell her that i miss him and i will miss her when she leaves and that we are the only surviving women of our family and we should stick together and make mud masks together. instead i think about mom's stupid old yellow highlighter i carry around with the pooh sticker barely still stuck on with my mom's radio name "dena" printed on pooh's honey pot. in her handwriting. if that sticker falls off, then what am i going to do?

"i had to buy a new wallet," she says. and tries to soften the blow to at least herself by getting it out for me to inspect.

"it has a closure so it doesn't fly open. but the pockets aren't worn enough. i can never get my cards out...."

she struggles with her visa to pay for my fattening chicken lunch.

and another bomb.

"sometimes i wish it was shop-worn like grampa's..."

i think about thanksgiving and the empty place next to me. it snowed today and last night and all i wanted to do, more than anything, was fall in love and dance in the snow. but it got too cold and i hadn't any layers.