I had to come sit outside. Away from TV, my phone, music in the kitchen. Just the moon, a few stars, some wispy clouds and the soft lights of our front porch. It had been a gorgeous day, and it was still warmer than you’d expect for a late-March evening in Pittsburgh.
I didn’t know what to do. I was utterly unprepared.
After a few minutes, I began to hear a dad and his young son walking up the street towards our house. The boy is happily chattering away and I hear him say, “Hey! Let’s play I Spy!” Dad agrees, and as they reach the side of our driveway, the boy spies, with his little eye, something white. Dad looks across the street, points at a neighbor’s white minivan and says, “Is it the van?” The kid releases his father’s hand long enough to clap.
“OK! My turn!”
I’m smiling now.
Dad glances at the flowerbed next to the driveway. “I spy with my little eye something yellow!” There is silence for a split second before the son shouts, “Is it the flowers?”
Dad says it is. The boy giggles. I realize our daffodils have started to pop. I hadn’t noticed before. I mean, the last two days have been pretty hard.
I’m still smiling — genuinely smiling — when Dad and the now-skipping boy spot me on the stoop. The man asks how I’m doing and I return the greeting. The boy turns a little shy but says he’s good, and thanks me when I wish them a good night.
That little bit — the bouncy, happy kid in the orange shirt, the yellow flowers starting to appear — was enough to lift me up out of my seat.
My smile faded, though. I had to go tell Mrs. Crappy that my best friend — the one I met pretty much as soon as we started seventh grade, the one who roared with me through Athens and Granville and New York and Colorado and Columbus, the one who was my best man at our wedding — died this afternoon.
I will see you again someday, my friend. Love you.