My order of scrumptious Mu Shu pork was quickly polished off by us all. What remained were the scanty leftovers of my companion’s meals—a bit of chow mein, some sesame chicken, and a tad of the almond chicken dish as well. They each said “No thanks” when the waiter asked if a takeout container was desired. But I wanted it. There really wasn’t much left but I asked him to box it up anyway.

And so was the smallest of family gatherings as my younger son and I went, one last time, to my sister and her husband’s favorite Chinese restaurant in town. This time it wasn’t for my nephew’s high school graduation or any other such family celebration like we’ve had there in years past. This was to say goodbye.

And what a relaxed and enjoyable evening we had with no one in a rush to leave though they were exhausted from loading the moving truck all day. Our last supper together came to a natural conclusion with us taking turns reading our fortunes out loud and ending each one the same way . . . “The future looks promising on your life journey . . . in Texas.” “You will meet a tall, dark, and handsome soulmate . . . in Texas” and so on.

The next day for lunch I took pleasure in eating alone, sulking a bit, eating the leftovers from the last meal we would share as four native Californians. In 48 short hours later the two of our tiny band, making their SoCal exodus, would become Texans. It was bittersweet as it should have been. Watching people you love ride off into the sunset isn’t all its cracked up to be after all.

Leftovers. Our memories are the best kind of those when the ones you love have left. They are a true gift and can be as embellished or truth stretching as we please. But mostly those memories help to fill what feels cavernously empty now that they have gone.

I’ve lived in the Sunshine state 99% of my life and imagine that the darn Texas heat will feel similar to what’s simmering in my skillet of last-supper leftovers. Might be a great reason to come back home, y’all. Just. Sadly. Sayin’.

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