We started a breakfast club.  We meet every Sunday at 9:30 a.m.  We meet at different restaurants around town.   It is at this time and place we share our weekly stories.  We uncover our shiny moments and confess the painful ones.  These people are real, safe and flawed.  No one cares because we like each others company.  We make each other laugh.  The food is as rich as the coffee is hot.  We like lemons in our water.  I love that my coffee is mixed with sugar and cream.  We get to know our waitress.  She tells us stories.  We like her.  I am sure our group leaves bigger tips.

I find myself looking forward to this time like I look forward to his e-mails.  White lines in an in-box telling me of some far off adventure.  He gives me vocabulary words to look up.  He gives me things to ponder and think about.  I do not feel him guarded.  He doesn’t tell me things are none of my business or that I do not have a right to ask my questions.  When I ask him what type of man he is— he has an answer.  He is not afraid to look at himself and to share his contents.  He is only shadowy and vague regarding his whereabouts.  He tells me what he packs in his overnight bag.  I see the color of the wall in his room.  Thoughts of him, for some reason, make me smile.  He says he is really not scared of anyone.  I feel him speak simple and refreshing truths.  Words appear to match his actions.  I sense he has time to look at and see his reflection.

He calls me over the weekend and wants to know if I am safe. This is sweet and kind.  I like the beginning of our conversations but they always end the same way.  I really do want to know about his week. But there is it: The barter and trade exchange.  I cannot give what I do not have. He asks and pushes and is frustrated at my response.

I am back at the water cooler.  An attorney brings up a familiar topic and a familiar name.  He asks me about a this and a that.  I feel a pinch and flutter.  My face changes colors.  His words poke at a purple bruise.  I am surprised at this visceral response.

He deserves my ill will.  They both do.  But I want to be better than this.

I visualize myself opening a hand full of sand.   The grains are letters in the alphabet.  I need to use these letters to form my words to tell the story.  It can be as lovely as Oranjestad beach sand.

I go home to work in the dirt.  I need this for my soul.  The Earth smells rich.  It is deep and dark.  I cut and weed.  Amazing things are poking through.  I am excited because potential beauty surrounds me.  This task is a big one.  I don’t want to work it alone.  I go into the kitchen and ask if she would like to come and help me outside.  I suggest— I don’t want her company if it is compelled.  She is refreshingly willing.  This child never complains.  We work side by side pulling and clearing.  She wants to scatter wild-flower seed.  I let her.  I don’t supervise or give direction on how it should be done.  She tells me about her week and what she has been doing.  Her chatter moves like our hands.   The sunshine and breeze warms and cools our backs.  I am seeing her differently today.  We are linked in time and place.  I like the sharing of our thoughts.  The sharing of our worlds.  There is no barter and/or trade exchange.

At breakfast I share this story.  We have a new guest and she makes us laugh. We talk of more travels and adventures.  I am more at peace than I have ever been.  I find pieces of myself and they are fitting back together.  Our conversations are different.  They are full of humor.  They have no point.  They never end the same way. These topics are refreshing.  Everyone wants to know when the next dinner is going to be.  Where are we going to find another group adventure.

I think we should charter that bus to Chicago.  I secretly think we should partake in a group bike ride.

She texts me to tell me she is hopeful and excited about her future.

I feel her happiness and I smile.