"We just don't want you to feel alone." She says these words as we walk past funnel cake booths and parents chasing their over-tired children through the empty streets of Southlake. She's opted to take the walk back to my car with me from the other side of a still festive town center.
I value those words. They are like pieces of fruit that never die and sustain me through long nights.
"But I am. You realize that right?"
She walks along side of me, through crowds who are weaving in and out of traffic. The fireworks have long ended and remnants of childhood and summer cover the park grounds. Sprinklers shower us and the sidewalk, a funny reminder that in Texas, everything needs water.
"I have amazing friends. I'd be in awful shape without you guys." We walk past a few cops who are quietly watching a group of rowdy teens. "But at the end of the day, it's just me. I'm doing this alone. And if I never come to terms with that, I'm in serious denial of my current situation."
Traffic buzzes by and we wait for the tiny hand on the opposite side of the street to turn green.
"I wish I knew what to say. Or how to give you support." She shrugs and looks my way. That look of I feel just as helpless as you.
I wish too. I try to explain to her that having never been through this, I'm not entirely sure what I need... or even the full scope of emotions I'm experiencing. Sometimes they feel a lot like relief. Sometimes a lot like grief. Mostly both.
"Days like today remind me I'm a single mom." Tears burn the rims of my eyes as we get closer to my car. "But it's ok. I need the reminder. I just need to learn these lessons."
She says she'll pray. Pray that I learn quickly. Pray that I have extra grace and patience dangling as ripe fruit from my branches. The low-hanging ones. The ones I can just pick without standing on my tiptoes or needing a ladder.
Fruit that tastes sweet. That sustains. That doesn't wither.