Edward and Julie are old friends. Old, as in — a long time. And old, as in — he’s 90 and she’s 87. Edward arrives at Julie’s door Sunday mornings bearing fresh bagels from the local bakery. Julie provides hot, strong coffee and together, they read all the news that’s fit to print.
In winter, he builds a fire in the fireplace. In summer, they sit on Julie’s patio under a maple tree.
They divvy up the sections: national news, local news, sports, business, entertainment, comics.
The morning begins with a period of silence, which Julie likes.
A burst of laughter. “Listen to this,” Edward says. He holds the comic section of the newspaper aloft and shakes it to get her attention.
Julie places an index finger on the paragraph she’s reading.
He reads a comic strip aloud, panel by panel, offering detailed descriptions of the artist’s drawings. They savor the clever satire together and chew on its underlying meaning.
“Ha! Listen to this,” he says. “You’ll love this one.”
Julie sighs, marks her place.
He reads. They relish the humor together.
He does it again.
“I want to read the comics last,” she says, finally. “They’re my dessert. You’re spoiling my appetite for the main course and ruining dessert.”
“OK. OK.” Silence.
A stifled guffaw. “Just one more,” he says. “This is a really good one.”
Last Sunday, Julie read Edward’s obituary first. It was short, but sweet. Bittersweet. Then she savored the comic section, considering it an hors d’oeuvre.