"That was great, let's meet again soon."
"Sure, I'll be happy to!"
They both pushed the strollers, each going her own way. They both knew it won't be soon but felt the dire need to keep the illusion about it alive.
Two young mothers, each with her baby, hurrying to get home, to the endless piles of clothes to wash, meals to prepare and rooms to clean.
Alone at home all day, with the fears of raising their newborn. The fear which was there despite reading all those modern books with all answers, despite the advice in the social network groups, despite the podcasts and the celebrities who seem to be doing this so easily.
Alone with the boredom of being stuck between the four walls and doing the same thing over and over and over again.
"Let's meet soon", they keep thinking. But today one's baby is fussy, and next week the other's baby has a running nose.
This weekend we are invited to a gathering at my husband's house, and the other weekend you are going to visit your parents.
Every time we manage to arrange it, we cannot believe we are not able to do it every month, yet we barely manage to sync our duties once a year. And for what? Do we save the world during that other time? Do we write plays or direct movies, do we solve the world's biggest problems? Do we travel to exotic destinations? What is it that keeps us so busy and unable to make room for meeting my best friend for two hours in the park? Is it really so hard to manage to find some time for ourselves?
The babies are now toddlers. Mine goes to daycare and I went back to my work full time, and you decided to be a stay-at-home mum. And yet, when I call you to meet, you have arranged to take him swimming. And when you call me to meet, I have a busy weekend at work.
The toddlers are now at school. Now it should be easier, no? But you already booked your vacation for next month, and we are moving to a new country in a few.
"Come visit us", I would offer, looking forward to the time to show you around. "With pleasure", you would answer, trying to figure out whether it is really as easy as it sounds to arrange it.
We meet for an hour when I come back, you promise to come to visit me next spring.
The kids are now big enough to go with their lives. Now's the time for my old friend. But we now have business trips to take, grandchildren to help with, and new friends to hand out with.
How is it that we were inseparable until graduation from high school? How come our promises to always be together looked so real then? Do I not need you anymore? If so, why do I find myself longing to meet you for a little longer, to continue our last conversation as if it was interrupted last Sunday? Will I ever make room for you, will you ever make room for me?
Do you remember how close we were? We used to meet every the morning and walk to scholl together. We used to sit on the same table, in the front of the class. We used to be the best students, always prepared. We used to study together and help each other. I used to help you with maths, you would teach me to love poetry. And we used to promise each other that no matter what happens in life, we would stay together.
Here we meet again, when was the last time - two years ago, three, maybe more? Wow, four, did your kid marry so long ago! I wanted to tell you about how I still consider writing that novel - no, it's never too late. I wanted to ask whether you had your old crush down the street, what's he up to. I want to talk about each other's dreams, what legacy we want to leave, and about our passions.
But strangely, the conversation gravitates towards our husbands' favourite meals, our children's jobs, the grandchildren's favorite stories. About what curtains I chose and your daughter-in-law's birthday present. So we talk about others' dreams, achievements, about homes, cooking, clothes. Is it already time? Yes, yes, I know you have to go, I have chores to do as well. Why is it that when we are just about to change the conversation from small talk to real talking that it always has to end? Let us meet again soon! Haha, no, it will not be after a year, we are now both with so much free time, I am sure we will figure something out.
Christmas is near, I will call you when I buy the groceries for the dinner. The children will visit me for a week and then I have two full weeks of vacation. I found this small nice hotel in the mountain, I know you are free too, let's stay together for a week. But you are calling me instead. The voice is not yours, it's your son's. When, how? Why? When we are just about to be as we were - together, just the two of us. Having all the time we need for conversations - real ones, just like in the old times.
I drop the phone. I cannot scream, I cannot cry. I want to rewind and turn back to our last meeting. I am sure my work on that day wasn't that urgent, I am sure you could find someone else to take care of your grandchild for just one more hour. I was so close to talking to you again, and now this opportunity is lost forever. I miss you, my dear friend. I miss our talks, they were always just about to happen, they were ordered after everything else as if they weren't that important. Now they are gone and I cannot have them back. I hope to meet you someday again and have the time for our conversations, and to continue from where they were interrupted.