I'd spent most of two weekends helping Sandra get ready to move to Visalia, and when I drove home from a round of errands on the following Tuesday, I really expected to see that she was gone. She'd been bustling around in front of her garage when I left in the morning, and it looked like she had everything packed up and/or neatly arranged in the parking strip so that scavengers could easily take what they wanted.
As I drove out of the alley onto my street, I spotted Sandra. She saw me, and ran toward my car, virtually throwing herself onto the hood. "Can you take me to the ice rink?" she asked breathlessly. I was puzzled by her request and the urgency of it. Why would a middle-aged woman, needing to get out of town in a hurry, decide to go ice skating in the middle of the afternoon?
The explanation turned out to be simple. Our community's ice rink is a major landmark, but the truck rental agency across the street from it is not so well known. Correctly sensing that I could easily find the one but not the other, she asked me to take her to the ice rink. We both dissolved in giggles at the vision of ourselves wobbling around on the ice in the middle of a weekday afternoon.
Then Sandra said, "I wish we'd known each other when we were young." I just had to reply, "I AM young, but I know what you mean!" Our vision shifted to that of our teenaged selves hanging out after school at places like ice rinks, and the moment became serious for a little while.
I dropped Sandra at the ice rink and watched her run across the street to pick up her rental truck. After tearful goodbyes, she made the three-hour drive to Visalia, where a nice home and a new job awaited her.
There's never enough time to spend with friends. I wish we'd known each other when we were young.