It was a day like those long-ago halcyon days of our childhood – carefree and boundless. Golden summer days when our only worry was which flavor of syrup to get in our sodas. This day was a cherry Coke kind of day, a little sweet with a taste of sour on the back of our tongues, making us shiver with the sharpness of it.
We wandered around the refurbished downtown, spinning wishes of how we would one day have our own vintage bookstore. How we would live over the shop in a studio apartment where we could stand at the Palladian windows and watch the midnight revelers stumbling from lamppost to lamppost.
A freight train rumbled through the outskirts of the quarter, a lone whistle piercing the tranquil night. You jumped at the shrill blast, your hand on your chest in an effort to still your pounding heart. I laughed and you smiled at my insolence.
At the end of the boulevard, we stopped at the old depot. Converted into an upscale bistro, we sat at the bar and ordered drinks – colas with a splash of ruby-red Heering. We sipped them through paper straws. By our second drink, we were debating cat names and whether we should have one or two resident felines.
The bartender called us “ma’am” and we two old broads giggled like schoolgirls at the honorific, We raised our glasses in a toast to our promise to love and cherish each other in our old age. We weathered absences, lost loves, and empty nests. On our own now, we joined hands to go on that final walk of our life journey together.