Here’s a short story for you all. Thought of it while getting ready this morning. Got some transitions going on at work and some with my writing, so I guess transitions are on my mind. All forms of them. Have a great weekend peeps!
I see her across the room. Petite, brown hair pulled up into a loose bun. Her husband and children move to the kid games housed in a room adjacent to the meeting room. Tables strewn with crafts, art exhibits and baked goods fill the distance between us. My heart beats faster as I watch her peruse the items. I wend my way through the tables, dodging silver-haired women and sticky fingered toddlers.
We converge at a leather goods table. She looks up as my shadow falls on the purse she is admiring. I notice the shock, then the funereal pallor wash over her features. Though we live in the same town, it has been three years since we’ve been face to face.
“Hey.” I feel like an idiot teenager.
“Hey.” She looks back at the purse, but I see the quick glance she aims toward the retreating back of her husband. The look of someone seeking escape.
“I saw the kiddos. They’re getting big.” The kids who used to call me auntie.
“Yeah, they are.”
“You guys staying for the auction later?”
This time she looks at me, her expression guarded. I didn’t know it was possible to bleed in public and not have anyone come to my assistance.
She looks back to the table. “Probably not. Kids are getting tired and we’re going to his dad’s for dinner.”
I try not to shuffle as I stand there during this excruciating conversation. I look up to see my hubby give me a questioning look accompanied by a nod to the woman beside me. I’m sure he can see the pain in my eyes and he wonders if she’s said something to upset me. He stands holding our son; I can make out the wet patch on his shoulder where the toddler has left his mark. He drools when he sleeps soundly – my son, not my husband.
“Well, it was good to see you. Tell the kids and hubby I said hello.”
She mutters a polite response and I turn before the temptation to wrap this woman in my arms overwhelms me. My heart rips in two. When did we grow apart? There was a time when we could finish each others’ sentences. Times when we would need to talk to the other and the phone would ring before I had a chance to dial her number. Watching her stiff movements and obvious discomfort, I know those times are gone. And I mourn them.
I reach my husband’s side and he takes my hand, squeezing mine in encouragement. As much as I want to turn around to see if she took what me leave, I can’t make myself do it. If she was gone, the rejection would hurt too much. I lean my head against my husband’s shoulder and silently grieve for a friendship lost.