“Send me your digits, ladies! I lost all my contacts!” the one dressed in pink yelled out. The entire fast food restaurant now knew that she had dropped her phone in the toilet and had to get a new one. We knew that she wasn’t that sad about the whole thing because her new phone was covered in crystals and that made her feel rich and fancy. All of her friends pulled out their phones. If I was their mother I would have told them to quiet down. The five of them had not stopped talking since they entered the restaurant.
They could have been 17 years old.
The one in the flowered shirt pulled a lipstick out of her Coach handbag. She lamented the fact that Macy’s no longer carried her favorite shade. She bought the last 4 they had of Lancôme Amber Spice. It matched the blazer she liked to wear back when she had to go court. That blazer intimidated the prosecution she said, laughing. One friend sighed loudly and said she couldn’t remember the last time she wore a blazer. She knew it was before her kids were born and that was years ago. Another friend laughed and said, “Yeah, my kids sucked the life right out of me. But God bless them, they are so wonderful.” They all nodded in agreement.
They could have been 34 years old.
“Who wanted salsa?” said the one wearing the neon orange Nike Free shoes. She began distributing the little plastic cups of hot sauce to the entire table. She didn’t take any for herself. The other ladies reminded her that she grew up in Texas and probably drank hot sauce from her baby bottle. They hounded her, “What's the matter? Why didn’t you take any hot sauce?” She reached into her coat pocket and pulled out a small bottle of pills. ”My doctor says I have reflux. I have to take these pills for awhile and knock off the hot sauce and a few other things. I hate it. It makes me feel so old.” Between the five of them the restaurant learned there were two acid reflux cases, one diabetic case, two high blood pressure cases and one friend who still needed a little help from her happy pills.
They could have been 56 years old.
As the ladies munched on Mexican food, the one with the monogrammed LL Bean canvas totebag threw her hands in the air. “Oh! I almost forgot! I brought pictures of Frank and me on our cruise. Who would like to see them?” She reached in the bag and pulled them out. One friend wiped her hands on a napkin and looked through the pictures. She shook her head and lamented, “That’s what I miss the most about not having my John with me anymore. We enjoyed our trips so much.” The LL Bean lady nodded her head, “Yes, it’s so sad. I’ve been to two funerals in the last month alone.” And for the first time since they entered the restaurant the ladies were silent.
They could have been 73 years old.
The restaurant watched as the one with the cane got up to leave. The ladies asked her how her new hip was feeling. “It’s doing pretty good. I can do almost everything for myself now. My doctor is mad at me though because I can’t seem to keep any weight on. Do you know how many years I wished I was skinny? Now I finally get there and they tell me it’s a problem!” The ladies laughed. One patted her belly and told the restaurant she had NEVER had that problem. Another said the only time she lost weight was when she was in the hospital for her gall bladder surgery. That hospital food was so bad she filed three official complaints-one for bad breakfasts, one for bad lunches and one for bad dinners. All the ladies laughed and accused her of officially being a cantankerous old woman now.
They could have been 85 years old.
The ladies huddled outside the restaurant. Their arms were around each other as they said their goodbyes. As I walked to my car I heard the one in pink declare to the group, “With Rachel and Donna gone we may no longer be the Sensational Seven but we can still be the Fantastic Five. So until next month’s lunch ladies! I love you all.”
The one in pink grabbed the arm of the one in the flowered shirt and they began their walk to the bus stop. The one with the LL Bean canvas bag helped the one with the cane onto the shuttle bus that had just arrived from Farrington Court Senior Living Center. They sat together in the 2nd seat back on the right hand side. And the one in the neon orange Nike Free shoes climbed into a 1987 Chevy Caprice and drove herself home.
Check This Out!
One of my favorite books lately is Eat & Run by Scott Jurek. Jurek is a vegan ultramarathon runner. He is considered by many to be the greatest ultramarathoner ever. In Eat & Run, Jurek comes across as a genuinely nice person. While many of his stories center on running and his vegan diet, much of his inspiration can be applied to every single day of your life.