Good Narrative Principles

Bad Coffee Good Conversation


IMG_5562The first thing that struck Beryl when she opened up her wedding album was her feathered, fluffy “do” and Barry’s ridiculous muttonchops. How they ever managed to find each other, fall in love, despite obstacles such as; geography, background and questionable fashion statements, was anyone’s guess. But they stayed together, that is until Barry abandoned Beryl by dying.

She spent the first year reflecting on the previous one and found comfort in reliving each precious memory. In June, she traveled to Jericho in Sullivan County and stayed at the same B&B where the house poodle had peed on the floor at breakfast. A barking terrier now replaced the poodle. Beryl could imagine Barry laughing at the owner of the B&B’s horrendous judgment when it came to house pets. Beryl tried laughing alone but it didn’t work. In August, Beryl drove to Bethlehem, PA, to sample the same fig infused vinegar that Barry had refused to taste. This year, she bought a bottle. It was crazy expensive. She hoped the gesture would be healing. It wasn’t. In October, she traveled to New Canaan, Connecticut, to press her nose against the window of Philip Johnson’s iconic Glass House. She could almost feel Barry’s hand nestled in hers.

By February, desperate for release and comfort, Beryl turned to the Bible. She noticed that all the towns they had visited together where mentioned there. What started off as an idle research project, a way to extract meaning from their random vacations, drew Beryl reluctantly towards religion. At the cusp of the anniversary of Barry’s death, Beryl found comfort not in reliving the past, but rather meeting with the Minister at the local diner. While the coffee was mediocre, and the waitress seemed resentful every time she asked for milk in lieu of Half and Half, the Minster seemed to know precisely which homily, Bible story or anecdote would ease the specific pain she was feeling that day. His feral blue eyes didn’t hurt matters much either and gave her something new to think about.

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