We saw their familiar faces as they approached us through the glass doors. We waved. Their faces broke into bright smiles.
“It seems we haven’t seen you for ages,” we all chimed in different versions to one another.
We were led to the end of the room on the corner—K’s’ favorite spot in the restaurant, where it was bright and spacious. The sun decided to grace the morning after all. We ordered our favorites from Albert, bless him! After pouring tea and settling in, M looked at both of us and declared that she was retiring.
She said it quietly and looked pleased, her steady gaze at both of us. We congratulated her. “But I’m available for consultation through the end of the year, of course.”
And so, through the parade of perfectly braised pristine tripe in light sauce topped with bell peppers and green onion slivers, the Chinese spinach gently sautéed and topped with juicy seafood balls, the tofu wraps, the succulent shiu mai, the stir-fried noodles crisscrossed with crunchy sprouts, shrimp and Chinese broccoli—we learned about M’s decision to step down. She said there was too much to do at home and she wanted to spend more time doing other things. We could tell she was slowly scaling down her professional life but it was obvious this was the conclusion of a long illustrious career.
We asked them if they would consider downsizing their living space. We were empty-nesters, after all. We said we were strongly considering it in the next year or so. We found maintaining a big yard too much work, although the size of the house itself was manageable.
“That would be easier for you because you only have one. We have four. When they all come home for a gathering, it’s a full house now, with the significant others and all.”
I thought to myself, we are going through our transitions as we speak to one another. What will the next few years bring us, I wondered. Did my parents go through these experiences similarly? But M brought me back by raising her teacup, “Let’s drink to good health and more adventures.”