I pushed through the heavy door of Berryhill’s, and my friends waved me over to a booth they’d already occupied. They each got up and gave me a hug and sympathetic looks.
“Was it as bad as you thought it would be?” Lyle asked.
“Worse. Let me go order, and I’ll tell you about it,” I said. They nodded and sat back down. Angie dipped a chip into the bowl of salsa and dropped half of it onto the table. Lyle swiped it clean with a napkin, and Vee drank her margarita. I treasured the moment. I knew I’d miss my friends terribly when I moved, but it still seemed like a good decision.
I ordered and picked up a basket of chips and bowl of salsa for myself before joining them. At the table, I had them sit close while I took several pictures of their smiling faces. I’d be able to pull the scene up anytime I got lonely. The music was loud, so everyone in the place was talking with their outside voices. It reminded me of sitting at Mitch’s Ice House on the beach back home when the wind was blowing and the jukebox was playing. Yes, going back was going to be good for my soul.
“Earth to Sam,” Angie said. She tapped me on the arm and raised her eyebrows in a question. “Where’d you go?”
“Sorry. Got a lot on my mind.”
Lyle leaned over to nudge me with his shoulder. “Tell us how it went today.”
“It was awful. Everyone tried to smile while a couple of people from HR stood over us, watching to make sure we didn’t steal any paper clips, I guess. It was humiliating. Then they walked us out. Escorted us all the way out of the building. If they ever trusted any of us, it sure didn’t show today.” I ate a couple of chips while my buddies shook their heads in understanding.
“I would hate to work in HR. They get the crap jobs,” Vee said. She picked up her margarita and licked some of the salt off the rim. I stifled the urge to slap her.
“At least they still have jobs,” I said. If my nostrils had ever flared any larger than at that moment, I don’t remember it.
“We’re here to support Samantha, Vee,” Lyle said. He was his normal immacul...