Saturday, June 20, 2015


"Nothing ruins a good barbecue quite like the rain."

Orla Grannath had a knack for packaging reality into these neat little pieces of wit. Just as she had always done, Orla comforted her best friend Sonya over her last breakup. Never one to keep a boyfriend for longer than six months, Sonya had a distinct knack of her own -- picking losers to date.

"Perhaps you need to lay off the dating scene for a bit. Traveling would be good for you. We've never been to Hawaii."

The wonderful weather, kind people and awesome cuisine of Hawaii was enough to grab Sonya's attention. Yet again, Orla had spun a keen method of recovery for her wounded friend.

"You know... you might be right Orla. I'd be so lost without you."

"Nonsense," said Orla. "You'd do just fine on your own. I just got lucky enough to be your best friend."

With a smile and a nod, Orla opened the passenger door of Sonya's car. They'd often meet at the San Felice Cafe for their impeccable Stromboli. Parking on the street was limited in front of the restaurant, but they caught a break today. Shutting the vehicle door, Orla leaned through the open window and reassured her best friend one last time.

"I'll see you on Tuesday for coffee. Get back out there and conquer the world... and to hell with men!"

Sonya chuckled and squeezed her friend's hand.

"Thanks, girl. I owe you.. again."

"Don't mention it."

Orla backed away from the passenger side window and waved. It would prove to be her very last living moment. In an instant, a local television news van lost control and veered into the side of Sonya's car. With no idea of what just hit her, Orla suddenly found herself pinned to her friend's car. Shrieking in horror, Sonya watched as the life in Orla's eyes went dim, then vanished.

The one constant in Sonya's life was gone.


Orla's death came and went in a flash. Sonya, still heartbroken, couldn't find the strength to attend the funeral. She sat motionless, staring at her ceiling. The weeks following her friend's death had taken a severe toll on Sonya. Floating through her daily existence, it took everything Sonya had inside just to make it through the day.

Emerging from the dark crypt that had become her bedroom, Sonya trotted into her kitchen for coffee.

"Coffee... we met on Tuesdays for coffee."

With a hot mug in hand, Sonya retreated for her bedroom once more. Placing the cup on her nightstand, she sat on the edge of her bed and sobbed. Glancing forwards, she noticed her old high school year books lining a shelf. Reaching for her senior year edition, she flipped through and stared at the photos from her and Orla's youth. They played softball together, performed in drama class, painted murals for the local library. Staring at the various autographs and notes scribbled throughout, she noticed for the first time a tiny number written next to Orla's senior portait.


What did it mean? Who put that there?

Frantically flipping through the pages and running purely on intuition, Sonya landed on page 49. She noticed that one of the corners had been flipped over. Lifting the edge with her thumb, Sonya read...

"Friends are like constellations in the night sky. No matter how far apart the stars may be, they are always together. -- O."

When sunset flows into golden glows,
     And the breath of the night is new,
Love finds afar eve's eager star—
     That is my thought of you.
-- Robert Underwood Johnson, Poems [1902]

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