We were awkward at first but soon we were talking
How is it? she asks me. What? I demand even though I know exactly what she is referring to. Living abroad. What's it like? she asks again. She's always been like this. Wanting to know everything about you. There's a child like curiousity about her. That you almost forgive the intrusive nature of her questions. She hasn't changed much in the 17 years since I saw her last. Yes, there's the grey hair and the roundness that comes with motherhood. But other than that, she still reminds me of the best friend she once was to me. Which is probably why I spotted her straightaway at the airport yesterday. She had come to receive her brother and I was arriving on my biennial visit to my homeland. We were awkward at first but soon we were talking as if there had just been one long gap in our conversation.
I had married straight after college and had not really bothered to stay in touch with friends. Not even my best friend. So we had a lot to catch up. She suggested that we meet today. I stir my coffee and look up at her. She's still waiting for me to answer. Do I tell her about the crippling loneliness? Or the rounds of failed IVF? Do I tell about the fear the grips me whenever the phone goes off in the middle of the night? Do I confide in her my almost constant worry about aged parents left behind? I lower my eyes and watch the coffee swirl. It's good, I tell her. Life is good. I can feel the warmth of her envy as I lift my cup to my lips. I take a satisfactory sip.