Last Thursday I met my friend and former next-door neighbor V for dinner at the MoPac location of Chinatown.
Though it is often hard for me to believe it has been so long, almost four years have passed since V and I were neighbors. No longer able to chat in our driveways and wave to each other on the way back from getting the mail, we have to be more insistent about scheduling time together. Over the years, our socializing has taken the form of meeting for drinks, going to the movies, eating dinners out, enjoying Austin's live music scene, and making an appearance at a downtown establishment that, in hindsight, may have been a little out of our league (or a little below our age bracket- though fun was had by all).
V made early contributions to the blog, sharing her fortune cookie superstitions and her daughter's actual fortune (with a sweet story of her husband's plan to keep the insert) in January and March of 2010, respectively. I can't fault her for not appearing on the blog in the past two years, as she gave birth to twin boys on my birthday in 2009 (I'm sure she planned that) and has been living the minivan dream ever since (
apologies for the inside joke). V, her now-two-year-old boys whose smiles are infectious, her supportive, charming husband, and her talented, smart, sassy daughter are building and living a happy life together.
When we were planning our outing for last week, we quickly dismissed the idea of seeing a movie in favor of dinner- safer to chat that way, especially safer than at Alamo Drafthouse, where they are serious about talking and texting. In deciding where to meet, V asked, "Is there a yummy Chinese place we could go?" We considered the different parts of town we would be coming from and decided on the centrally located Chinatown. It was then that V said, "I finally get to have a fortune with you!" What?! How was it possible that in almost seven years we had never had Chinese food together?
V had the sesame chicken; I had the orange peel beef. She opened her cookie first (and I believe added "in bed" to the end when she read it aloud):
"Your life will be happy and peaceful."
Unlike V, I did not receive an actual fortune:
"You have a deep appreciation of the arts and music."
This isn't even that original of a not-a-fortune. It's very similar to the not-a-fortune I received at my birthday dinner with Amy and Colleen (but insisted on trading for an actual fortune), for example.
I must have seemed disappointed in my not-a-fortune because V offered to trade inserts. She said a happy and peaceful life is what she wants for me. What a friend I have in V!
But you know what? I do have a deep appreciation of (for?) the arts and music, and V and I share that, which is why we go to movies and concerts (front row at Ray LaMontagne, Citizen Cope's killer acoustic set at the Cactus Cafe - both memorable). That makes for a happy life. Thank you for spending those moments with me, V. I appreciate you.