Day Six: A Character-Building Experience

This class might be considered a character-building experience or exercise or in some ways a humbling experience.  Ive been staring at the screen struggling to identify a person and then wondering if I can find words to adequately paint a picture of someone.  I’m taking a break after 15 minutes of nothing…stay tuned.

I’ve thought about how I might respond to this prompt, so I decided to take a look at some of the photographs (of people) that I’ve taken over the years.  There weren’t many because most of my subjects include animals and landscapes.  I came across a photograph of a friend – much older, and now deceased – that I had taken at a restaurant.  It was a snap shot really; I was showing him how easily and quickly I could take a picture using my cell phone.

Looking at this photo I’m reminded of my friend and one of the last times we had together – at a local restaurant.  I watch him as he steps out of the car, noticing that he walks with less confidence, a little slower, hesitating as he climbs the short flight of stairs to the dining room. After we are seated, he reminisces about the many meals he has enjoyed at this restaurant, one of his all-time favorite places for dinner. I watch his red-rimmed, milky eyes scan the menu and within minutes he has made his selection.

He eats earlier now – no later than 5:00 – and drinks less – only one glass of wine with dinner.  His appetite remains healthy though and we share a piece of pecan pie.  He wants to linger at the restaurant; he’s in no hurry to go home to an empty house.  His wife and long-time companion died 15 years ago from complications from Alzheimer’s disease.  And we talk about the things we like – food, photography, and dogs.  He’s happy and content.  When he suggests it’s time to leave, he talks anxiously about our next outing.  “Could we have lunch one day next week?  You could pick me up in front of the building and we could go to Lindey’s.  Check your calendar when you get home and let me know, will you?”

We had that lunch the following week, but it would be the last time we shared together.  My friend died several weeks later after a short, age-related illness.

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