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LegalSeries t1_jdiu6vs wrote

The bright rays of light warmed Ethels skin. She was thankful for the tranquility and grateful for the company next to her.

"Those people are in the news again..." Said Barry.

Ethel already knew who "those people" were. She didn't want her friend to get worked up again.

"Oh, you pay those people no mind, Barry" she said hoping to come up with a different topic.

"if I would have known that this is how the world would have ended I would have never given the best years of my life for those- those-"

"You need to just focus on the good. The time you spent over there was not wasted. You got out alive, you raised a beautiful family." She was hoping bringing up Barrys family would inspire him to change the subject.

"You know what they called me the other day? They called me a Nazi. How the hell can I be a Nazi?" He said.

"They did not." she said. Flabegasted by the very thought.

"A couple of them came into the store, holding hands and kissing. It was disgusting. There were kids there and these- these-"

"They were kissing? In front of kids?"

"Hell, if I wouldn't have stopped them who knows how far it would have gone. I kicked their butts out of my store and thats when one them called me a nazi." Barrys voice squeaked when he said it.

"It's all over the place." He continued.

Ethel asked about his grandkids: "Does Marcus like living in DC?"

"aww, hell, we barely hear from Marcus ever since he left for Howard" Barry said in the same tone.

"It's not the same university I went to when I was a kid." Barry was getting ready explode.

Just then Duke, their neighbor across the courtyard, waved at the widow/widower couple. Duke was a young man, he looked to be about 20 to Ethel and Barry (altough to them, anyone under 40 always looked like a 20-year-old).

"How you doing young brother?" asked Barry. Despite Duke being a white man, Barry still called him brother. It was just like Barry to treat all people with the same level of affinity. Duke was a respectful young man that went out of his way to be friendly to his neighbors. Duke was in PT attire but still postponed his workout to chat with the elderly couple. He brought up the weather and made a few self-deprecating jokes. That seemed to change Barrys whole demeanor. Duke waved goodbye and went on his run.

"I like that boy" said Barry.

"Me too, he's so respectful" Ethel said.

"Not many men his age know how to wear their shorts" he said.

"or pants" said Ethel

"It's a damn shame"

The two sat on the bench, absorbing sunlight and enjoying each others company. If Ethel wasn't on dialysis she would have brought tea for them to enjoy. Barry reached into his pocket and pulled out a some hard candy. He silently offered Ethel a piece but she politely declined. The two had been neighbors for a long time. Neither of them had ever met each others spouses but each knew about them in detail. Ethel would talk about her late husband, Frank, and Barry about his late wife, Gladys. Sometimes Ethel would cry at the memories of Frank and sometimes Barry would hold back tears when he brought up Gladys. The one thing they both had in common is that each one found a perfect love and were given big families because of that love.

Before either of them knew what time it was Duke was back from his run already. He was drenched in sweat and his smile was an indicator that his run went well. The sun had shifted and two no longer were under it's direct light.

"Well, that's it for me Ethel. I got to back inside and take a nap" said Barry.

"ok, Barry." she said.

Barry made a grunting noise to get up and slowly made his way back to his home.

"Barry!" cried out Ethel. He turned around (despite all his shuffling he was only a few feet away from her).

"Try not to watch so much news, they only want to make you mad, it's how they sell their crap" she said.

Barry laughed, agreed with Ethel and made his way back home.

Ethel sat on that bench a little longer and took in the site. For her, every breath was like a fine glass of wine. She knew that soon her and Frank would be together again.