It’s been short and sweet. I had gray skies all the way down to Sarasota, which is excellent for driving, and once ensconced at home the blue skies came out. I have two friends from school days who are “must see” appointments every time I come down. We spend hours talking, each of them about different aspects of our lives. With our histories we can talk about things with each other that I cannot with anyone else. We have deep roots.
I saw Lynn on Thursday. She asked where I wanted to eat, and I replied, “Outside, of course.” When she learned I’d never been to the Venice Pier, we were off, well before sunset.
We had dinner outside on the deck, right at the entrance to the pier.
It was packed and there was beach music. After dinner we walked out to the end of the pier and continued to talk about our families of origin. This is the view of Sharky's from the pier.
We stood at the rail and watched the moon rise over the gulf, lighting up tall clouds to the west. A school of fish nibbled at the surface, lighting up the phosphorus like twinkling lights. That went on for about an hour.
It was 1:15am when we finally looked at our watches. A few intrepid fishermen were still on the pier. The restaurant had long been dark. We had stood the entire time on the pier, and I finally realized my feet were sore. It was time to go home.
The next day I had lunch with Kelly, and we ate at O’Leary’s on Island Park at her request. She and I talked about our relationships—friends and lovers—while we sat under the palm thatch. We continued our conversation as we walked around the bayfront park, sitting on the same bench where I had conducted business a couple of days prior. A blue heron tiptoed up and watched nearby.
One side of the walkway goes by the marina. This boat’s owner is clearly a Seinfeld fan.
We could have talked longer after only four hours, but Kelly had a prior appointment with a longtime friend whose time remaining is short due to recurrent cancer. Kelly confessed that she has had similar thoughts to mine about remaining time in our lives.
As I sit here in the ATL airport—refusing to pay eight dollars for WiFi to post this essay—it strikes me that I’m going home, again. I felt the same way when I was headed to Sarasota. Home is where my heart is.