Rene At Tlaquepaque, a French restaurant, was a particular favorite of Kathleen’s. The restaurant’s cozy country French atmosphere gave it a sense of intimacy, and its reputation for fine food pulled in a clientele of wealthy residents and tourists. Kathleen decided to splurge on herself and meet Carrie Southern at Rene’s for lunch. She found Carrie at the bar drinking an Irish coffee.
“Hi, kid.” Carrie climbed down from the tall stool. She gave Kathleen a hug and then put her at arm’s length to look at her. “You look a hell of a lot better than you did last time I saw you.”
Carrie’s blond hair was pulled back from her face with a silver barrette. She wore a long pleated silk skirt in pale blue with a matching blouse. A large silver Concho belt cinched her thin waist, and she accented the belt with dangling silver earrings.
Kathleen suddenly felt she did not dress appropriately for the luncheon, and was particularly aware of her dirt-stained slacks. But before Kathleen could answer her friend, she saw that the host, Andre, hovered nearby. Kathleen turned to him.
“Hello, Andre. How have you been?” She extended her hand.
“Mrs. Buckley! It’s so good to see you. May I offer my condolences about the death of your husband. We miss him…and you, of course.” He took her hand in both of his and gently squeezed them.
Rene’s had always been a special place for Scott and Kathleen, but as the years of their marriage wore on both of them, Scott began taking other women there as well. Kathleen was grateful for Andre’s savoir faire regarding Scott’s indiscretions, smiling warmly in response to him. She then quickly asked if they could have a quiet table, “perhaps one of the booths.”
“Most certainly. Right this way.” He gave a small bow.
He led them through a large room filled with cloth-covered tables, into a narrow side room with cozy leather booths lined up on each wall. As she scooted into the booth, Kathleen wondered how Western art could fit so nicely with lace curtains and French country decor.
“If there is anything I can do, madam, please call upon me.”
Kathleen thanked Andre as she slid into the booth. “This place was among Scott’s favorites, but I wasn’t in the mood to eat at one of the coffee shops in West Sedona,” Kathleen said after Andre left.
Carrie tried to reassure her. “It’s all right, Kathy. You have to face those memories sometime. You might as well do it now.”
“You know there’s a part of me that doesn’t ever want to face it. I want to hide from it, go someplace where no one knows who I am.”
“Yeah, well, Kathy, you did that. You moved to Phoenix when you left Scott. Did it help any? Did the pain of it go away or is it still stuck in your craw?”
Kathleen laughed at her good friend. “Jesus, Carrie! You do have a way of getting to the heart of things.”
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