The first Friday trip was as painful as hearing my parents had died. I sobbed the entire train ride from Connecticut remembering the special time with my mother. I wore her coat and her perfume, breathing in what was left of her. In the pockets I carried several of my father’s cloth handkerchiefs, breathing in what was left of him too. It was all too much to bear. I called Alice when I got to Grand Central Station, begging her to please come get me. Tears poured over the phone and she was hugging me within twenty minutes, stuffing my sorry ass into a cab. It didn’t help that it had been pouring rain for nine days straight and there was no sign of sunshine in the ten day forecast.
When we got to Alice’s penthouse I showered, changed my clothes and had a glass of wine. I was feeling a bit refreshed knowing Larry, Maggie, Lopez, Bertha, Nancy and Alexis were with me. We sat by candlelight. The smell of incense hung in the air and we sat in silence for a while, heads down, watching the flicker of the candle. Alice was the first to speak. She raised her wine glass with her right hand said simply, “To Jack and Evie,” and we all repeated, “To Jack and Evie,” and each took a sip of red wine. Some of us took a bigger sip than others and no one was dainty. Then she said, “Let’s each tell a story about Jack and Evie. I will start.” The exercise was therapeutic and repeated when we lost Larry.