It was wonderful to see Dawn, and I recognized her right away. I swear she hasn't changed a bit except for losing her accent. She claims it can come back in an instant when her sister visits. Paul sat patiently as we commiserated about the usual aches and pains of growing old, losing memory and mobility, and the few odd (in her case) or many (in mine) pounds that have stuck to our bones.
I had warned Paul that she might tell a story. It's one she and I have discussed several times over the last few months. I know she tells it to express her gratitude for a kindness received when she needed it, but I'm usually left with this squirmy feeling that I should have done more. It was in the 7th grade, and I'm not sure why but for some reason Dawn started coming to school without a lunch. Somehow or another I noticed it, and started sharing the odd piece of the lunch my mom would pack for me. Dawn remembers how on Friday I got to buy my lunch, and I would share a slice of bread from my lunch plate.
Dawn did tell Paul the story, and as she was showering me with compliments all I could think was I wish I did more. I wish I was more aware of her situation, and I wish I had shared more. I wish I had invited her over to my house for dinner or to spend the night, and I wish I had made more of an effort to stay in touch.
It was wonderful to see her today, see her smile, and hear her laugh. I'm glad she's happy. And this time I'll stay in touch.