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Fiction

Marking Time

This story is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to any person or place is unintentional.

Fifteen minutes to three o’clock.

I was nervous. I had flown into Vancouver early this morning. Why did I agree to meet him today? By the time I cleared the arrival gates and taxied to my hotel, I only had time to quickly wash up and unpack my suitcase before heading out to Gastown.

Ten minutes to three o’clock.

I had promised to meet him at the clock in Gastown. It’s one of only a few landmarks I know in Vancouver. I haven’t been here in twenty years; things have really changed. I’ve changed, and I’m sure he has too. Would we still be able to relax and laugh together? Time will tell.

Five minutes to three o’clock.

Time moves slowly on the west coast. Or so he always used to say. I have no idea why we lost touch. Same country but different ends of the world it seemed. He told me on the phone that he had never married. I wonder why not. Is it rude to ask someone that question?

Two minutes to three o’clock.

I hope I don’t embarrass myself by talking too much about myself or asking weird questions.

Now I see him (at least I think it’s him). Did he always wear such thick glasses? Recognition slowly dawns on his face (at least I think it’s recognition – we agreed to meet here and I’m the only one here).

“Sarah?” he asked. Just for a moment I saw the doubt in his eyes.

I smiled. “Hi Mark, is it really you?”

His face lit up with a grin as he wrapped me in the biggest hug I’d had in years.

Then at exactly the same time, we both started to laugh.

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Categories
Life Memory Lane Uncategorized

When a friend dies…

A friend died today. We hadn’t been close over the past few years, ever since my mother passed away, actually. Stuff happened; words were exchanged. It was a difficult time for both of us. I was going through the grief of losing my parents and was thrown unexpectedly into menopause; Rita had a lot of health & family issues. Eventually we drifted apart.

In the past couple of years, we had talked again. Not about important stuff, she wanted help to buy a new computer, then she needed help to fix her computer. We kept the conversation light, and said we should get together for bingo sometime (she was my bingo buddy years ago and we would go to games a couple of times a week). We never actually did go to bingo though. I had been thinking of her recently, of calling her and getting together for bingo. Neither one of us had been to bingo in years.

I had no idea she wasn’t well. She had had a bypass operation years ago, but I thought she was doing well. The last time I saw her, she had lost weight and had quit smoking. I was amazed at how well she looked. She had two grandchildren, and she was so proud of them! She had also gotten in touch with some relatives in Nova Scotia and went down there every year to visit.

I waited too long to call. When I got home from work, there was a message on my phone from Jim, her husband. She’d gone into the hospital for angioplasty, but the surgeon said the blockage was too severe and booked her for another bypass, which she had yesterday. This morning at 9:30 a.m. she went into cardiac arrest and passed away.

Rita and I were very close in age; my birthday is on January 13, while hers was on December 24, so we were less than a month apart.

So, how did this affect me? I am grieving for my friend. Time and distance and differences separated us, but I will always remember her and I will always regret that I didn’t call her to get together for bingo sooner. I will also take better care of myself – I’m overweight, have dangerously high cholesterol and high blood pressure. Losing the weight is the first step.

51 is too young to leave. I hope you’re in a better place Rita. You will really be missed.

Goodbye my friend, rest in peace.

Rita Lepine
December 24, 1956 – June 6, 2008

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This work by Suzette Leeming is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Canada License.