That night the weather was a little chilly – but still crisp. It was around 6:30 and I just got picked up by my friend and her dad. We are on the Merritt Parkway and have been on it for about 10 minutes now. We talked for a little while, but the most part we just stayed quiet. We were going to a dinner for my friend in Fairfield. I had thought that my friend’s dad was lost because we were about 5 minutes late at this point. I was thinking to myself why he had gone this way. The way I know we would have been there already. Of course I did not want to ask him if he was lost ( that would have been mean), so instead I just kept the thought to myself.
When we got there I saw the birthday girl sitting at a table with two other friends. That moment a huge smile spread on my face because it had been so long since we have seen each other. Over the past year we have been hit with a global pandemic. and we had to go into shutdown, we could only leave the house for the grocery store and the doctors. I have been so lonely and I forgot what it was like to have some kind of happiness in my life. When you haven’t seen your friends in a while you kinda forget what it is like to be with other people, beside the ones that live in your house. We had a lovely table outside right next to the fire pit.
My friend and I were a little late ( if you count being about 10 minutes late ), but we still got there in time before the fire went out.
I said my hellos and I took my seat.
“ You do know that you are 10 minutes late, right?” Sara and Daniella both said.
“ Ya, I know. We took the long way” Jessica told everyone”.
“ I’m sorry. Have we missed anything?” I asked.
“ Nope, we just ordered drinks,” Mia told us, right as the drinks came out.
Mia was the birthday girl.
The waitress came over to Jessica and I, and asked politely if we wanted anything. I simply asked for coke and Jessica asked for a Sprite. I was so happy that my friends and I could finally hang out together during this hard time. We talked and talked until the waitress came over and asked for our orders.
“ Would you guys like to order your food?”
“ Um, ya sure” I said with a little doubt in my voice.
I had not known if anyone was ready to order and I don’t like to rush people. So I guess you can say that I was nervous saying that we are ready.
Mia went first and she got the steak tacos. Then Jessica, Sara, and Daniella. They all got quesadillas, and I just got a cheeseburger. We got chips and guacamole to share as a starter. We had these long chats about what we had missed doing together on this long break, and we talked about how school is going. Jessica and I go to the same school, But Sara, Daniella, and Mia all go to different schools. We reminisced over the good times before this hard time, and we just caught up. The food came about 30 minutes after we ordered.
I remember sitting at the table while even one is eating and the crisp, cool, fall air whooshed through my hair. We had finally decided that it was time to get desert and pay. But when we handed the waitress the checks she looked at us and said that she does not take change. I had thought to myself: You will only have about 25 cents in change. She then went on to say that she does not like the sound of having change in her pants. To me it kinda sounded like she just wanted extra money. Well actually it sounds like that to all 5 of us. Till this day I still think about that moment. I kinda think she took advantage of 5 thirteen year old girls that don’t really know how to do tips.
She may have only taken a couple more dollars from us. We may only be 5 thirteen year old girls sitting at a table celebrating our friends dinner with no parents. But you can’t just tell us that you don’t want to hold 25 cents in your pant pockets.
“ I CAN’T believe that lady just told us that she wont hold 25 cents in her pockets” Sara yelled.
“ I know. She just took advantage of us” Jessica added on.
As we were walking to 16 Handles, we eventually stopped talking about what happened at the restaurant and started talking about random things. All of a sudden we got stopped by this old man in his late 50 early 60. I was kinda scared… not going to lie, but he kindly asked us where the Starbucks is. We were scared at first because we could not see him on the dark, narrow sidewalk. There was some light, but not enough to see the man.
“ Excuse me lady’s. You don’t happen to know which way Starbucks is?”
“ Umm, I think it is right down the road this way.” As I pointed right ahead of me.
“ No, Kasey. I think it is this way?” Mia stated.
At this point we had no idea which way the Starbucks was. So we told the old man that it was behind us.
We kept walking, but we would look behind us to see if the old man was following us. He was kinda sketchy, but the good thing is he followed the directions and went on with his night. I would say about 3 or 5 minutes later we approached 16 Handles.
When we got to 16 Handles we ordered and sat outside. For the fall, there were a lot of people. There was a nice couple behind us sitting on the bench who had two kids and they were sitting right next to an elderly couple. I don’t know what it was but seeing the eledely couple sitting next to the family brought some more joy to me. There is just something about old people that just makes me happy. That couple did not care what was happening in the outside world, it looked like all they cared about was spending time with each other.
I stood up.
I felt something on my leg. I thought it was a hair or something, but no it was a huge bug crawling up my leg.I kept calm but inside I was screaming. I don’t do well with bugs and even if it is small I jump. All of a sudden the bug starts to move up my leg. I quickly tried to flick it off my leg, but it wouldn’t budge. And now I started to freak out like a child going through a haunted house, on a brisk fall night. The stubborn bug would not leave my leg, and the only way I could get it off my leg was to kill it. I don’t normally like to kill things but this bug would not budge. As my friends were eating frozen yogurt, I was trying to kill a bug. FINALLY I got the bug off and was able to enjoy my frozen yogurt.
I remember seeing this medium-sized tree with these beautiful trees. It was lit up with rainbow lights, a medium size star on top, and it was surrounded but all these little trees. The tree looked beautiful. It reminds me of when I was younger driving through town seeing all the lights. It was GORGEOUS. We talked for a number of years ( you know the conversation that just happens to feel long, but really isn’t). I can’t remember when I had a conversion like this or when I felt so happy to have such a long conversation with anyone. It are these moments in life that people never forget, and in these times we need to remember the good. I will always remember this day and how it showed me that there is light in the darkness.