White tablecloths and fine wine glasses symbolized the man from whose funeral I had just come. This restaurant with a nautical theme overlooked Tampa Bay and would serve to me the last meal of swordfish steak over mango and kiwi coulisse, with a roasted plantain garnish.
Sometimes when we lose a friend, those magnificent treats once shared lose the meaning of special. As I sat at the table in my friend’s favorite restaurant overlooking Tampa Bay, I had noticed even the bay was grey that day and quiet grey clouds hung like a shroud supporting my melancholy as if an agreement between myself and nature had been reached. I picked at my food and realized what once had been delightful would evermore be special only in reminiscence of days gone by.
Wine glasses tinkled from tables in the distance, and I gazed through the window at the still water below. Silent dialogue with my friend was ongoing at that moment as I imagined his reaction to nature missing him as much as I. “Interesting, very interesting” I had thought I heard him say. But then, to my friend, everything had been interesting.
A waiter appeared at my table without invitation and replaced my meal with a celebratory ice cream sundae speckled with red, green and orange coated pieces of chocolate. I gazed into the waiter’s eyes and saw glittering sparkles.
I took a deep breath and began to pick at my dessert. With each spoon of cold sweetness, I felt a slight lift of darkness, a slow awakening of my senses. When I looked back at the bay from the window, I saw a fish jump high out of the water, and the clouds that had been a shroud were now more like a protective cover, a cozy blanket of down.
Tampa Bay photo by Pamela Hill