“What’s it like- heaven- home?”
Chris was driving now. The big turquoise bakelite steering wheel made him feel small, but very comfortable at the same time- almost as if he was piloting a large cabin cruiser out on a placid sea.
“Is it true, streets of gold? Mansions and all that stuff?”
The Mister was in the passenger seat, slightly turned to be able to carry on a conversation with The Missus who had the backseat to herself. Actually, he was greedily watching as she began to fix sandwiches, Chris could tell, simply by the delicious aromas that were enveloping the station wagon.
“It’s not so much a place as a Person” said The Mister. “It is a place, sure. But that’s not what really matters.”
The sandwiches were high-stacked two-handed affairs skewered with big, fancy toothpicks that had colorful frilly tufts. As The Missus handed one to Chris, he struggled to manage it and the big wheel at the same time. He had to smile at the delightfulness of the whole construction- fancy toothpick and all. He was amazed that such a perfect thing could be summoned up from the crammed storage compartment behind the back seat with what seemed to be little effort.
“Maybe a story would help” said The Mister through a mouthful of sandwich. “Say you had a boyhood friend- your best friend in all the world- let’s call him Danny.”
“God is my Judge- that’s what Daniel means in Hebrew”, added The Missus, trying to be helpful.
“Uh, that’s beside the point” chewed/said The Mister. The Missus gave a dismissive shrug and went back to enjoying her sandwich.
“Say you and Danny grew up in the poor part of town. You were inseparable. Everyday found you playing some kind of sport together, depending on the season. Baseball. Football. Basketball. Danny was really good at basketball. As the years went by he was so good that he became a star in college, and then an MVP power forward in the NBA, with all the attendant fame and wealth.”
The Mister tucked the last little corner of his sandwich into his mouth, fully satisfied.
“Danny owns a fabulous villa on a private Greek island. You’ve never been there, you’ve only heard about it from him. It’s beyond description, he says. He invites you –his best buddy and pal- to spend a week with him there in the off season. All the plans are made. Private plane arranged. Then, at the last minute, Danny has to cancel. But he says you can still go and spend the week there. By yourself. You say, ‘Nah, that’s ok. Let’s do it another time. It wouldn’t be any fun without you.’
“Capiche?” asked The Mister.
Chris, who’d been looking straight ahead at the road all this time smiled knowingly and nodded. He finished a second sandwich and said over his shoulder to The Missus, “My compliments to the chef!”
“¡De nada!” she said cheerily.
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