This story first appeared April 2010 in Wanderings Magazine.

Hey, how are you?

Yeah, I know, I could be better too.

Right. Well, I just wanted to talk, it’s been a while.

I know, I know, but what’s the harm in picking up the phone once in a while? Besides, I have something I wanted to discuss with you.

No, it won’t take long; I can’t talk too long anyway. I’m at the Art Festival, and there are lots of people around, it’s pretty crowded.

Yes, I remember. In fact, being here is what reminded me of you. Remember when we’d come here every year? I miss that.

Okay, okay, no talk of the past, sorry. So listen, I’ve been thinking of you and wanted to make sure you were okay.

Well that’s good. You know, though, that times are getting tough. In fact, I took my stocks and converted them into something safer.

No, no, not foolish at all. Hey, I plan on living to at least ninety-four, so I’ll need money to last another twenty years or so.

That’s true, not as much, but the risk is a lot smaller. You know I’m not a man who likes to take risks anyway. Now I’ve got municipal bonds and other mutual funds that are bond heavy. You should think about doing the same thing.

I just worry about you that’s all. You can be vulnerable sometimes you know.

No no, I didn’t mean that in a bad way, it’s just that sometimes you tend to let things go you know? You have to admit that.

Well still, this is no time to stand pat. I just want to make sure you’re thinking about this stuff. Trust me, things aren’t going to get better any time soon.

Of course I believe that, I wouldn’t have said it if I didn’t think so. And don’t look for Congress to do anything to help.

Yes, I know how you feel about politics, and I won’t get into it, but I only mention it to get across that you have to look out for yourself. Those do-nothings in Washington won’t be doing anything soon to turn things around, and the things they do only put us deeper into debt.

Right, right, you need to really think about this. Look, just get in touch with your financial advisor and talk it through. I’m telling you, it’s the best thing to do.

I’m just worried about you dear, you know I care. I just want to be sure you have some security. Is there anything wrong with that?

No, no, I’m not talking down to you, I’d never do that. Listen, I’ll have to lower my voice, some people just sat down on the bench next to me and I think they’re eavesdropping.

Yeah, they sure can be. Oh God, someone just walked by with a doggie stroller. Third one I’ve seen today. Wow, can you imagine? Why bring a dog if you can’t walk it? Some of these people treat their dogs better than kids.

What’s that? Oh yeah, good one. I agree, better than treating their kids like dogs.

Yeah, we always did see some sights didn’t we? I’m telling you, if you were here today you’d be making some snide remarks about the sights. Plenty of material here that’s for sure. We’d be laughing our asses off.

No, it hasn’t changed. Still weird. That dog also had a string of pearls around its neck. Probably real too.

Yeah, I remember that. Earlier I saw a woman with a pet skunk.

No, carrying it around, like a child. Drew a crowd everywhere she went.

It better have been! No, I’m sure it was de-scented. Still not something you see every day.

Oh yeah, that was something too, I almost forgot about that. Hey, a little while ago I passed by some kids, one had a green snake wrapped around his neck, and the other was carrying one ferret and had another in the hood of his sweatshirt.

Um, no, I don’t think they eat snakes, no, I’m sure of it.

Oh no, don’t feel stupid, stop.

The show’s good, yeah. There’s lots of good, interesting stuff. You’d like it. Expensive though.

Yes, I guess that would go along with your tastes. Hey, do you have any plans on being in the area in the next few weeks?

No, nothing like that, but I miss you, it’s been such a long time, you know?

Yeah, I know, it’s just that I saw so many things here today that reminded me of you. Art work that you like, clothes that would look great on you, it seemed like every where I turned I’d see something that made me think of you.

No, I know, but I get so lonely some times, and thinking of you just makes it worse. I mean here I am in a sea of people and I feel so alone.

I know, I know, but it’s not easy to move on. Easier said than done. I try. I try to get out among people, but sometimes that makes it worse. Seeing people enjoying each other’s company makes me think of the good times we had together and how much I miss that.

Yes, those days are gone, but they’re all I have left.

I know, I know, you shouldn’t dwell on the past, but the past is all I have, I have no future.

No, I don’t mean financially, I mean emotionally, personally.

Right, right, I’m sounding like an old fart, somehow I knew you’d say that.

No, no, it’s okay. So what do you say, can you make it down here?

I understand, but it doesn’t have to be anything more than having dinner together, or spending a day at the museum or something. C’mon, what do you say?

But you can make it happen, I know you can.

Oh man, don’t do this, I just needed to hear your voice again, that’s all.

No, I won’t, I won’t.

Yes, I’m okay, I’ll be okay.

Right, right, but think about what I said, okay?

I miss you Steve, I miss you so much.

I know you do. I just had to talk to you. It’s been ten years since the cancer took you from me and it’s not been easy for me.

Yes, yes, I know, can’t dwell on the past. Like you always used to say, “deal with it,” right?

Yeah, I should get going too.

Okay, you too. Miss you, love you. Bye.

The End

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