I called her to get direction to our appointment. Two minutes after she was suddenly in front of me albeit about 30 feet ahead. She waived at me; that's how I knew it was her. I realized my grin when I felt my mouth dry. She was walking toward me now looking straight up at me. I found my gaze avoiding hers, unsure about what I would find in her.
Fourteen years is an age. Or is it?
We greeted like old friends do, right cheek to cheek, left she kissed my cheek and then we hugged, briefly. Then I looked at her and kissed her cheek. Giddy. Yet uncertain. At first her tone was her casual self, as I remembered, a bit guarded may be: "chetori?" "How are you?" Asked in passing as if not expecting a response.
We already had a table thanks to her earlier arrival. Cactus Club by Canada Center was a trendy upper class hotspot. That's my vague memory of the place. I didn't care much. We were seated and then we were talking. I'm not sure how many minutes were gone when we found ourselves already chatting so openly, immersed in the same subjects in life, alive with similar dreams; challenged in similar ways. How baffling it was after all these years; what a pleasant surprise!
After all, fourteen years is a long time ago. Or is it?
I have grown. She has grown. We are not those high school girls any more. We are not the newly grads with our whole lives ahead of us any longer. We are both grown women, emigrated, married, working, mothers. Mothers! Mothers!! That's what has happened in the last decade and more. When you think about it, fourteen years is a long enough time for transformations. Or is it?
Lunch was over too fast all the while we seemed oblivious to it all. She got a call and had to leave after 1.5 hours. I walked back to the hotel; noticing the beautiful fog over the mountains only once. Otherwise I was walking in my fogs of the past and the sudden unexpected fogs of the present. Soon she texted and easily we joined again for coffee. This time I got to meet her son. Her son!! She was a mother to a boy with her exact eyes. This appeared so unimaginable I felt like I needed to touch him to believe that he was real.
We talked some more. This time I was mainly listening. Feeling her feelings. Wishing there was no interruption to come yet wishing to be by myself alone to digest this all.
Fourteen years apart must be a great deal for a friendship. Or is it?
She texted me later that night. Seemingly she was as unsure about this visit as I was earlier that day. And then we both had found our friends in each other; same way we were back in high school but this time married, emigrated, working, with kids. And all the baggages of life through it all.
Fourteen years is a life time. Or is it?