Her face looked out at me from behind a foreign flag and she was the middle of a trio of woman. How far she had come. Yes, she was thousands of miles from home in an Islamic country that was embroiled in trying to keep Isis at bay. My friend, my beautiful friend who could be Glenn Close’s pretty sister, was marching in solidarity against a terrorist group. My heart glowed for her.
This was the woman who twenty plus years before looked at me as she pushed baby in a swing attempting to soothe a miserable teething infant: “Oh Laura, please tell me that this is not all there is.” I looked at her stunned, she dared voice what I had been feeling for a year. An ugly feeling I didn’t have the courage to voice. Had our lives been sucked down in a vortex of babies, play dates, and marital ennui?
I had known her for maybe two hours at that point; we met that morning dropping off our children for “Mother’s Morning Out” at our church. She was lithe, petite, and had a style I wished for myself. I was immediately jealous and immediately wanted to be her friend in hopes her energy would rub off on me. We sat in front of the church the entire “morning” our sons played with other toddlers. She invited me to walk back to her gracious house nearby and the conversation continued. And it hasn’t stopped. Yes, it’s been interrupted by distance as her family moved around the world and now her own far-flung career but the conversation has never stopped.
I was the first to divorce. She was shocked and a little horrified I would leave my comfortable upper middle class nest and trade my secure marriage for the uncertainty of singlehood. But life twists and turns in such a way that she found herself divorced and navigating the waters of single parenting and dating a few years later.
She—unlike me—was devastated by her divorce and unsure she would ever have a life again. But oh! The places she has gone and would never have experienced had her husband stayed the course of their marriage. My dear friend has earned a second graduate degree, developed a following for her visual art, and created a new career; all after the tender age of fifty. I’m too busy being happy for her to be envious.
I can’t wait to see where she lands next!