Barba was waiting for me in the foyer. Standing. Looking out the window at nothing.
“Barb, so good to see you again!” I exclaimed at first sight.
I couldn’t help but admire her Lauren Napa Intrecciato Clutch Bag. I had my eyes on one of those for the last six months.
Barbra smiled, administered a loving, strong hug, and held me back at arm’s length, admiring.
“Goddamnit, Dian, you’re still the most beautiful girl I know,” she exclaimed.
That was Barb. Heavy on the praise as usual.
“I pale in comparison. Barba, you just light up this room,” I gushed.
It wasn’t hyperbole.
Barba was my image of the ultimate femme fatale.
Five seven without her heels, almost six feet with them. Raven hair down to her shoulders, silver streaked now. Large breasts, hourglass figure, drop dead gorgeous even at her age.
“Oh, honey, how sweet to hear in my final years.”
“Shit, Barba, you’re going to live forever.”
She gave me a wan smile. “Oh, honey, none of us live forever.”
That gave me pause. She still held onto my shoulders with a strength that made my muscles ache.
“So glad you wanted to meet here at the OK Cafe,” I offered. “Haven’t been here since you used to mentor me.”
Barbra leaned in conspiratorily. “Best damn chicken and waffles in town. And you could bounce a dime off the tight asses of these waiters. Too bad they’re all gay.”
That was the Barba I knew. Brash as two copper pennies rubbed together.
I smiled hoping to God someone would move us from the center of the foyer quickly.
My prayer was answered when another hand grasped my shoulder.
“Ladies? Table for two is waiting for you. Let’s move it along.”
Barb was right. You could bounce a dime off his tight ass.
Hypnotized by the sway of his ass cheeks, I followed the waiter along through a maze of tight-fitted tables, powersuits, and hushed conversations.
The OK Cafe set at the precipice of Atlanta’s elite. Two miles down the road was the governor’s mansion.
My God, what was I doing here? In the middle of everything? Seeking advice from a siren?
Immediately I wanted to be back in my world, the somnolent bank that may or may not make it. The house. My house.
O fuck, the house. My house. My house on fire. The house in the warzone.
That’s why I was here. To seek out Barbra’s council. To understand how you make it to 70 with the man you began your path.
Table for two. Elbow room only between the tables surrounding.
An intimate conversation to ensue surrounded by strangers perched on your shoulders.
Barb didn’t pick up a menu. She was still a regular.
I picked up mine seeing nothing.
Walt was at her side.
“Miss Barbra, so good to see you again!” his baritone rumbled..
“Hello, Shugga,” Barbra cooed. “My usual, love.”
“Absolutely, dear. And for you?”
I looked up at Walt. I knew nothing. “When in Rome… I’ll have what Barbra’s having!”
Walt gave me a smile. “Alrighty dear!” Walt whispered away.
Coffee cups and a carafe appeared out of nowhere. A pile of napkins. Silverware rattled on the tabletop. Another tight ass walked away.
“Dian,” Barbra began, “How the hell are ya, honey?”
I smiled. “I need to talk to you, Barbra.”
“I get that. About what?”
“Life after menopause.”
Barbra smiled. “Oh, honey.”
I returned her smile. Shrugged my shoulders. Fought back tears.
“What’s going on?” She wanted to know.
“I’m coming out of the hot flashes. Rediscovering Buck.”
Barbra gave me a wide smile. “How’s that working out for ya?”
“Interesting,” I offered.
“Damn, baby, unless Buck’s gone all beer gut on ya, I’d say you should be pretty happy!”
“Buck’s in pretty damn good shape, Barbra,” I replied.
“So what do you need a council session for, Shugga? Fuck the hell out of him and let him wonder how he could live without you!”