The room was full of people. People crowded in chairs at rows of white clothed tables. I sat at the end of one of the center rows, turned sideways in my chair to spoon feed a baby in a highchair.
The room was alive, voices raising and a constant current of conversation mingled spurts with laughter and an occasional baby or toddler fussing. Overall it was just the happy sound of people eating together.
I saw her headed toward me and I was glad to see her. She had a determined gleam in her eye as she carefully and slowly navigated around people and conversations, and chairs and dishes and spills. She kept coming and she got slowly closer until she was standing beside the highchair. I gave the baby her final spoon of food and smiled at my friend, my dear, long-time, from the first minute we met friend, Barbara Rauls.
She stepped closer and leaned over and kissed me on the cheek and said simply "I love you," turned and headed out of the room.
"Wait," I called after her. Leaving the baby in the charge of a friend, I followed after her to her car in the parking lot to give her a hug and to say a proper goodbye.
Then in an empty space, cameos—appeared with the faces of many of my friends from over my sixty years. I saw Mary Ruth Stevens and heard her sweet perky voice say "I love you." Then others friends from my past in Oklahoma: Linda Gaunt, and Cindy Hoover, Pamela Wedel saying "I love you."And from my years in Louisiana: Bonnie Hollis, Linda Doughty, Pamela Calish, and Judy Mock. Each said, "I love you" and in the dream their voices each sounded so familiar, so real and near.
Then my friends here in Oklahoma again Shelley Boland, Ronee Jordan, Valerie Wright, Rebecca Lee, etc. They each appeared, said I love you, and then faded.
It was a happy dream—a wonderful dream, because I knew when I woke what I had known all along. I was loved. I had friends from way back long ago and right up to the present that loved me.
Friends are friends forever.